- Associated Press - Monday, September 5, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS — The unthinkable suddenly seems possible in Indianapolis opening the season without Peyton Manning.

The four-time league-MVP who has never missed a start in his NFL career is doubtful for Sunday’s game at Houston because of lingering soreness in his back following offseason neck surgery. If Manning sits, it would be the first time the NFL’s active iron man missed a meaningful game after 227 consecutive starts including the playoffs.

The question is whether the Colts can survive without their franchise quarterback, whose streak stands second in NFL history to Brett Favre’s among all QBs.

Manning had surgery to repair a nerve May 23, but the recovery has taken longer than the expected six to eight weeks that would have put back on the field for the start of training camp. Instead, Manning started camp on the physically unable to perform list and wasn’t activated till last Monday.

Sixteen-year veteran Kerry Collins came out of retirement, presumably to back up Manning. Collins has spent the past 12 days learning the playbook and splitting work with Curtis Painter at practice.

Umenyiora likely to miss opener

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora probably will miss the New York Giants season opener against the Washington Redskins.

Umenyiora had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 19, and coach Tom Coughlin said Monday the 29-year-old who is entering his ninth season with the Giants hasn’t progressed enough to play. Umenyiora was not on the field for practice Monday.

Around the league

CARDINALS: Arizona bolstered its depleted running back corps by signing veteran Chester Taylor, a 10-year NFL veteran who was released by the Chicago Bears on Saturday.

VIKINGS: Minnesota signed linebacker Chad Greenway to a new five-year contract. Greenway, a first-round draft pick out of Iowa in 2006, has led the Vikings in tackles in each of the past three seasons.

PATRIOTS: Veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters and New England have agreed on a contract and he reported for his first practice Monday. The five-time Pro-Bowl guard spent 11 seasons with Kansas City before he was released at the end of July.

BRONCOS: Second-year wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is participating in his first practice since tearing an Achilles tendon during offseason workouts in February. Thomas was expected to start the season on Denver’s physically unable to perform list and rejoin the team in October.

PANTHERS: Carolina brought back offensive linemen Geoff Hangartner, who spent four seasons with the Panthers from 2005-08, starting 27 games and playing in 54 before signing as a free agent with Buffalo in 2009. Hangartner was cut Saturday by Buffalo.

BILLS: Buffalo backup linebacker Arthur Moats will miss at least the first two weeks of the regular season while recovering from a right leg injury. Moats had 2 1/2 sacks in 15 games, including four starts, as a rookie last season.

Story Continues →