INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Peyton Manning made it out to practice
He's still nowhere close to throwing yet.
The four-time MVP was in good spirits when he made his first
public appearance on the field since having neck surgery Sept. 8.
"Save a copy for me for my scrapbook," Manning joked as he
walked past the television cameras filming his arrival.
Those around Manning are not elaborating about his medical
Fox Sports, citing an unnamed source, reported Sunday that
Manning traveled to Europe for stem-cell treatment before his
latest surgery. The procedure has not yet been approved for use in
the United States.
Colts vice chairman Bill Polian and Tom Condon, Manning's agent,
both declined to comment about the report following Sunday's 27-19
loss to Cleveland. On Monday, Manning's surgeons followed suit and
Caldwell reiterated that the team would not provide any additional
details about Manning's progress.
"Just in terms of how we've handled things around here, we have
not discussed anything of that nature in terms of medical
situations or whatever it may be," Caldwell said. "I think, also,
in (the Sept. 8) release, we stated that we're not going to discuss
anything further, and that's where I'm going to end it."
Dr. Gowriharan Thaiyananthan, co-medical director of the Chapman
Neurosurgical and Spine Institute in Orange, Calif., said it's
possible stem-cell treatment could speed up Manning's recovery.
But it's still unlikely, Thaiyananthan said, that the Colts will
get Manning back sooner than the current timetable.
Manning is expected to miss at least two months after having an
anterior fusion to treat a nerve injury that was causing weakness
in his triceps. The procedure normally involves making an incision
in the front of the neck, removing soft disk tissue between the
vertebrae and fusing the bones together with a graft. The goal is
to ease pain or address a disk problem.
Some doctors have said the recovery can take four months or
longer, which could keep Manning out all season.
"He still has to recover from a cervical fusion, so I think
that will be several months," Thaiyananthan said. "I think the
hope is that he can get back to playing sports."
The stem-cell treatment does not use embryonic stem cells, which
have caused so much consternation in the U.S., but rather cells
from Manning's own body. Doctors harvest the cells, expand them and
then put them into the body.
It's a procedure Thaiyananthan believes athletes may use more
frequently in the future so they can avoid surgery. He's not alone.
"The stem cells very quickly affect the inflammation and then
they're like a factory where they will regenerate right at the
site," said Kevin Dunworth, founder and CEO of SpineSmith in
Manning had a prior surgery May 23, but that did not fix the
The Colts are hoping this latest procedure will.
"He's convalescing from the surgery and that will take a little
while yet, and then at some point, the doctors will bring him back
and assess his situation," Polian said on his weekly Monday night
radio show. "We're not sure when that will take place. He's up and
around, I can tell you that. But it is surgery, and there is a
period of time where it takes its toll on you, and that's where
he's at right now."
Teammates were happy to have Manning back on the field - even if
it was only as a spectator.
When five-time Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne walked past
reporters and saw Manning, he blurted out: "(He's) walking it
The injury ended Manning's streak of 227 consecutive starts,
including the playoffs, and without him, the Colts have not been
They're off to their first 0-2 start since 1998, Manning's
rookie season, and have scored only two touchdowns in eight
quarters. Panicked fans are calling for changes, even replacing
Kerry Collins who has started the first two games.
The Colts, however, are more worried about fixing the mistakes
than making personnel changes.
"For the foreseeable future, it's not going to be the
high-efficiency offense that we've been used to," Polian told
listeners. "Kerry can't do that, nobody can. You could probably
bring back Johnny U. (Unitas) and you wouldn't have that."