Jay Glazer’s report yesterday that Manning had had stem cell therapy prior to his most recent surgery had one glaring ommission: exactly when the therapy took place. Given the timing of the news report, the implication is that it happened recently, as in days before the neck fusion. But there’s a problem with that timing. Manning has been a constant focus of the media since he signed his new contract on July 30. Remember that he participated in a press conference on July 31, and training camp began on August 1. If the stem cell therapy had taken place in the days or weeks prior to his surgery, it probably would have taken place in one of the 5 weekends following the start of camp. A “quick” trip to Europe would have probably required that he take a Friday night flight (so he wouldn’t be missed at the Colts’ facility), had the procedure on Saturday, and flown back as soon as the injections were complete. He would have had to have been back by Sunday or Monday, depending on the weekend in question, which is presumably Labor Day Weekend. This is certainly feasible, and it was said that Manning took a private jet, but with so many eyes on him since he signed the contract, it also seems like a stretch.
Will Carroll seems to agree that the timing is questionable, going so far yesterday as to tweet that “it would have happened in late June, early July.” CORRECTION: Carroll tweeted today that he misspoke, and that he had meant to say late July, early August. Carroll doesn’t cite any sources, and his tweet reads as speculation (“would have happened”). But given what Carroll does for a living, I tend not to dismiss him. Still, there is an issue with his assertion as well. In the midst of information leaking out of every corner of the Colts building recently, this particular nugget somehow didn’t find its way out to the public. Even if the therapy took place in June or July, when most eyes were on the NFL lockout, you would think someone would have heard about (or talked about) a trip to Europe. To add even more mystery, Larry Hawley of Fox 59 tweeted this morning that “Jim Caldwell wouldn’t confirm Manning stem cell story.” Unless there is a fear of public retribution for subjecting Manning to what some may (rightly or wrongly) consider an ethically inappropriate therapy, it’s unclear why the team refuses to confirm the story. My sense is that, while the team may believe Manning will play again, they are also concerned that fans will abandon the team in droves, adding economic pressure to an already-distasteful situation. The information Glazer passed on seems like an attempt to keep Manning in the public eye, keep Colts fans hopeful that he’s doing absolutely everything he can, but then remain mysterious enough about it that people keep returning to find out more. I just hope the team doesn’t already know a disturbing truth.