Odds Continue to Fall for a Manning Return in 2011

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Colts fans continue to search for any sign pointing to the odds of star QB Peyton Manning returning to the field, this year, next year, or ever. This week, a few hints have leaked out that will further dampen the hopes of those who have been thinking #18 might still make it back this season.

Background: Manning’s most recent next surgery took place on Thursday, September 8. NFL.com interviewed respected expert Dr. Wellington K. Hsu, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Department of Neurological Surgery. Hsu indicated that most surgeons would allow Manning to begin training in 6-8 weeks (i.e., beginning as early as this coming Thursday). He would need 4-5 additional weeks to get back on the field. So the baseline was already set at 10 weeks minimum, with no indication that the process has accelerated.

Last Tuesday, after the Colts’ loss to Kansas City, Jim Irsay estimated that there is a less than 50/50 chance that Manning can return to play this year. After more promising comments in prior weeks, these words start to take a negative turn for fans.

Finally, in today’s Bill Polian Radio Show, which Brad Wells of Stampede Blue graciously retweets every week for those of us who can’t access the show, he quoted Polian as saying,

B Polian: This full 12 games this season which Curtis will play shall tell us a lot about his career in Indy

So, pulling out my abacus and sliding some discs around, carrying the 5…. Collins started the first 3 games, and Painter started the next 3. The comment that Painter will have 12 full games to play, minus the 3 he’s already started and played, gives us 9 games left for him start. There are only 10 more games left on the schedule. While not a perfect correlation, there is little doubting that Polian’s comments were the most recent indication that Painter, and only Painter, will be the Colts starting QB for 2011.

In fact if we don’t hear something in the next 3-4 weeks about the development of Manning’s triceps nerve, it will be difficult to project him to be ready for 2012.