Colts' Peyton Manning has neck surgery

BY Alex Marvez • May 24, 2011

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said that quarterback Peyton Manning underwent disc surgery Monday in Chicago to alleviate “real discomfort” in his neck.

He said the procedure will sideline Manning for six to eight weeks but a full recovery is expected before training camp opens in late July pending a resolution of the NFL’s labor impasse with its players.

“They removed part of a (bulging) disc, which is a very non-invasive procedure,” Irsay said Tuesday afternoon at the NFL owners meeting in Indianapolis. “He’s heading back here and he’s doing well.”

Manning, who has never missed a start during 13 NFL seasons, also underwent neck surgery during the 2010 offseason. Manning showed no effects of the injury last season, finishing second in the NFL in passing yards (4,700) and touchdowns (33) while leading the Colts to a ninth consecutive playoff appearance.

Irsay said Manning didn’t show any signs of this latest neck ailment at the end of last season and is likely to have gotten injured during offseason workouts. Manning turned to surgery after other rehabilitative measures failed.

“Certainly, now is the time to do it at the end of May,” Irsay said.

Asked to compare the two procedures, Irsay said, “Just the location (of the 2010 surgery) made it a little bit trickier. I think this one was a pretty easy one where there’s no spinal fusion or anything. You clip the disc that’s up against the nerve. The pain is relieved and recovery is pretty quick.”

Irsay said the second surgery will have no impact on his desire to sign Manning to a long-term contract extension. Unable to strike that deal in February, Indianapolis named Manning its franchise player before the work stoppage began following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

“I think he has a great chance to play five years,” said Irsay, whose team drafted Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. “He’s such a tough guy. He takes care of himself. He really, really works hard. I feel good about it.

“If anything, we’d like to see his reps — how many times he throws and that sort of thing — (curtailed). Let the backup quarterback tell the new receivers what route to run and let him throw a little bit more. (Manning) is so motivated to really work with the guys. It’s like a baseball pitcher. As you get older, you want to limit how many throws the arm is taking.”

Despite the lockout that bars football-related communication between teams and players, Irsay said the NFL gave a doctor connected to the Colts’ medical staff permission to contact Manning after his neck problems developed.

Considered a surefire future Hall of Fame selection, Manning is the first four-time winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. Manning also captured Super Bowl XLI MVP honors during the 2006 season after leading the Colts past Chicago.

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