- Associated Press - Monday, September 5, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay hasn’t been shy about using Twitter to share his thoughts.

Not this time _ and certainly not when it involves the health of his star quarterback.

Hours after a local sports talk radio host tweeted that Peyton Manning would need a second surgery on his injured neck, prompting more speculation about the Manning’s opening-day status, Irsay responded through his favorite social media site.

“There is nothing2say on Peyton’s status except we move cautiously n deliberately on projecting,beyond day2day,his healing process n recovery,” Irsay wrote.

It was about as cautious as the Colts owner has been in his posts.

In July, Irsay used Twitter to announce Manning had signed a five-year, $90 million contract. In August, he wrote that he was in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Brett Favre lives, prompting speculation he was trying to bring Favre out of retirement to be Manning’s backup. That didn’t happen. He also announced the signing of 16-year NFL veteran Kerry Collins on the site.

But Irsay’s latest posting came amid new reports swirling about Manning’s possible availability for Sunday’s season opener at Houston.

After the original posting, ESPN reported that Manning was expected to see more doctors about the slow pace of his recovery. Presumably, Manning has been seeing doctors regularly since he agreed to his new deal on July 30 because team officials have repeatedly said Manning would not be cleared to practice without the consent of the doctors.

Manning started training camp on the physically unable to perform list as he continued to recover from surgery to repair a nerve in the neck, though he was seen by reporters running and throwing at camp.

Last Monday, the Colts finally activated their franchise quarterback.

Manning, however, did not even dress for Thursday night’s exhibition finale at Cincinnati and missed the entire preseason for only the second time in his career. He also sat out in 2008 after he needed surgery twice to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee.

He struggled during the first half of that season before leading the Colts to nine consecutive wins, back to the playoffs and picked up his third MVP award.

This time, it could be different.

On Aug. 20, Manning ruled himself out of the final two preseason games and acknowledged he would need “every bit” of the remaining time to get healthy enough to play in the opener.

“I have made progress, but I still have some work to do,” he said then. “When I’m healthy enough, I’ll be able to play.”

After activating Manning last week, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters Manning would be restricted in his workouts.

“Obviously, he’s been throwing, but nevertheless it’s just going to be in a limited amount,” Caldwell said. “I don’t think it needs a whole lot of explanation, I don’t believe. Scripted means that we kind of know exactly what he’s going to do, prescribed by his rehab specialist and our medical team.”

Manning had surgery on the neck in May.

Back then, Irsay wrote on Twitter that he expected his No. 1 quarterback to return within six to eight weeks.

But the NFL’s 4 1/2-month lockout prevented Manning from working out with team trainers, something Manning said contributed to his slow recovery.

Has there been a setback?

Manning and Caldwell have repeatedly said no.

But the Colts had enough concerns about Manning’s health and apparently the ability of backup Curtis Painter to win games that they brought Collins out of retirement a little less than two weeks ago.

Painter performed well in Indy’s third preseason game, but didn’t play in Thursday’s victory at Cincinnati.

Instead, Collins played the entire first half, nearly matching Painter’s numbers from the previous week.

Manning has never missed a meaningful NFL game. He’s made 227 consecutive starts, including playoffs, since Indy selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. That’s the second-longest streak among quarterbacks in league history, behind only Favre.

Teammates insist they don’t have any inside information, either.

“People I know absolutely nothing of the rumors bout 18…..y’all likely to find out before me,” starting cornerback Jerraud Powers wrote on Twitter.

And nobody, not even the team owner, seems to have a final answer.

“I’m trying2prepare 12th Man as best I can,” Irsay wrote later, referring to Colts fans. “BUCK UP.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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