In the Training Room: Colts’ QB Manning on the Mend

Laura Calaway provides the latest updates regarding the health and outlook for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.


Whereas the middle of the season was relatively bereft of updates on Manning’s health, these past 2 weeks have been an overload of information.  Woven in amongst the story, of course, is the drama that continues to unfold regarding what the Colts will do should they end up with the #1 overall pick. This post sets aside that drama and focuses solely on Manning’s progress.  Spoiler alert: his progress sounds very encouraging and I personally have far more confidence  than I did just a few weeks ago that he will be ready to play next year.  More on what we learned today after the jump:

  • Per Bill Polian, Manning “is improving, he can throw the ball with good velocity for about 30 to 35 throws in a limited area, 25 to 30 yards. That’s a lot better, almost 100 percent better, than he was in September before he underwent this surgery.”

The ‘glass half empty’ side of me (which is really most of me) reads this and thinks, “wow, he must have been SUPER weak in September and barely able to lift his arm.”  The ‘glass half full’ side of me remembers that Manning had gotten to the point in September that he was cleared to participate in practice, and that only then were they able to get enough information about his health status to decide they had to pursue additional surgery.  The truth is likely somewhere in the middle – I suspect he was not really ready to practice in September, but they had to give it a shot… and he was likely just good enough to give it a go.  It just simply didn’t go well enough.  To hear now that Polian believes Manning has well surpassed where he was in September is great news.

  • Manning will not participate in practice with the team this year.

I never saw the harm in his trying to practice in a controlled environment.  However, the benefit is far greater for him to continue rehabbing on his own.  He’ll get one-on-one attention, more reps and a better chance to get better, faster. We also get the side benefit of not having to hear how Manning is selfish, controlling, and wants to take all the snaps for himself.

The fan in me reads this and thinks, “wow, he must not be anywhere near ready if he can’t pass the end-of-year physical even after being ‘almost 100 pecent better’ than where he was in September.”  The cynic in me has already spoken – “How did Manning pass a physical PRIOR to this season, but will definitely fail AFTER?”  The answer is simple: failing Manning allows him to continue his rehabilitation at the Colts’ facility.  According to Polian, NFL restrictions (preventing players from being on-site during the offseason) “do not apply to a player who fails the physical examination and is rehabilitating. You can do everything you need to do to rehab the player.”  So I view this merely as a procedural move.

  • The Colts expect to know enough about Manning’s progress to decide whether to exercise the option in his contract in March (either March 3 or March 8, depending on which report you read).

It has been 103 days since Manning’s last surgery (coincidentally it was 101 days between Manning’s surgery last March and Game 1 of 2011 – ruminate on that for a moment and consider what we would be talking about today had the right decision been made then).  Anyway, there are at least another 74 days until a decision on his contract must be made.  I know these things aren’t linear in nature, but theoretically, Manning would have to be between 50 and 60% ready NOW for him to have a chance to be 100% in March.  Rumor is he’s closer to 70%, and heck, he’s already throwing farther than Tom Brady does.