ESPN’s Mortensen: Colts’ Manning Still Hopes to Play this Season

My habit of turning on ESPN on Sunday mornings around 7:30am PT continues to be rewarded.  It seems that every Sunday, despite whatever news has emerged from the Colts during the week, there is a little extra nugget or two shared by Chris Mortensen on ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown. Today was no exception.

Mortensen first teased the segment by suggesting that Eli Manning might not have just been “blowing smoke” earlier this week in saying that Peyton could still play in a game this season.

When they returned, Mort said that Peyton’s next checkup is expected to reveal that the fusion is complete, which doctors believe will lead to a “better nerve regeneration.” He went on to say that if Manning can do it, sources say he plans to play in “controlled circumstances such as directing a red zone offense and – yes – even in a real game before the season ends.” Per information shared earlier this season, Peyton’s checkups are scheduled every 4 weeks, putting the next one on or around December 1.

I continue to wonder whether the Colts are leaking this information to Mort to keep fans engaged and hopeful.  They lose nothing by making statements such as “expected to reveal” or “doctors believe” – if what is expected or believed doesn’t ultimately come to fruition, the blame lies in the mystery of how the human body heals and not in any deliberate attempt at misinformation.

It also doesn’t make sense to me that the fusion completing could result in “better” nerve regeneration.  The surgery is designed to clear any obstructions  and allow the nerve to be immediately free from impingement.  If I understand the anatomy properly, the nerve should have started regeneration and not been reliant on the bone fusion being complete.

What I do know is that we have yet to hear that Manning is doing anything more than exercise on a treadmill and throw a Nerf football… hardly a recipe for preparing to play in an NFL game.

Another nugget that Mort shared was that the conversation between Manning and Polian regarding drafting #18′s heir apparent was held 6 months ago.  This is interesting, as it puts the timing right around when Manning had his second neck surgery.