- Associated Press - Monday, September 26, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Peyton Manning is still on Indianapolis’ active roster and could return this season.

Team officials said that part hasn’t changed. His role will change.

On Monday, Colts owner Jim Irsay used Twitter to clarify comments he reportedly made during a private breakfast with Super Bowl donors, comments that indicated Indy’s franchise quarterback would miss the rest of this season.

“I didn’t say Peyton out 4season FOR SURE,keeping him on ActiveRoster n taking it month by month/Outside chance of return n December possible,” Irsay wrote.

Indy’s final regular-season game is Jan. 1.

Manning was expected to miss at least two months after having neck surgery on Sept. 8 and possibly more, which still might cost the four-time league MVP the entire season.

Manning’s three-game absence followed a streak of 227 consecutive starts including the playoffs since being taken No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft. Not surprisingly, the Colts are off to their first 0-3 start since ‘98.

But after being seen at Colts practices last week and spending Sunday night’s game in Indy’s coaches’ booth, the speculation turned to whether he would be healthy enough in time to make it back this season.

The Colts will continue to wait.

“The protocol hasn’t changed one iota,” Colts vice chairman Bill Polian told radio listeners Monday night. “He’s still on the active roster and we have said time and time again that we will leave him on the active roster until the doctors tell us it’s impossible for him to come back this year.

“He’s exercising. He’s doing a lot more than he did a week ago. The bottom line is nothing has changed and he will have some examinations and tests down the line, quite a little while from now. It’s not imminent.”

The Colts have not discussed Manning’s recovery in detail.

He originally had surgery May 23 to repair a damaged nerve that was causing muscle weakness in his throwing arm, and when that didn’t work as anticipated, Manning had an anterior spinal fusion. 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.

It was Manning’s third neck surgery in 19 months.

The Colts have provided no timetable for Manning’s expected return.

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