Manning to miss more than opener?

A tweet from Indianapolis Colts owner JIm Irsay suggests quarterback Peyton Manning will miss more than the opener against the Houston Texans.

Reading into a Thursday morning Twitter message from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, it appears the regular-season opener Sunday against Houston won’t be the only game that star quarterback Peyton Manning will miss.

Part of Irsay’s posting states, “We had a good practice yesterday and r guys r fired up 4 the season.#18's out for awhile,but compete,we will/BELIEVE.”

“Awhile” is yet another indication that Manning isn’t close to returning from the offseason surgery he underwent on his neck. Manning didn’t play during the preseason and suffered a setback over the weekend in his attempt to play against the Texans. After the Colts announced his status as doubtful for the Texans game, Manning was officially downgraded to “out” on Wednesday.

Manning is still being evaluated by team doctors. Another neck surgery, which would be the third of his 14-year NFL career, isn’t being ruled out.

Manning’s streak of 227 consecutive NFL starts will be coming to a close. Kerry Collins, who was brought out of retirement in the preseason with Manning’s status uncertain, will start against the Texans. Collins didn’t work with Indianapolis’ starting skill-position players in his 2011 preseason debut last week against Cincinnati.

Believing Manning would make a full recovery, the Colts signed him to a five-year, $90 million contract extension this offseason. Profootballtalk.com reported that Manning would still collect $55 million from the Colts even if his career were ended by injury.

When first announcing that Manning had undergone surgery in June, Irsay said the quarterback was expected to return for the start of training camp. Manning has blamed the NFL lockout for delaying his recovery because of his inability to rehabilitate with team trainers while the league and NFL Players Association spent 4-1/2 months this offseason negotiating a new labor contract.

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