Sunday, August 21, 2011

What If Peyton Manning's Neck Injury Is More Serious Than What Colts Are Claiming?

Folks in Indiana are getting quite antsy after news was released that their star Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, will miss the entire pre-season.  Apparently his neck is still not fully rehabbed from his surgery in mid-May, and the Colts are not going to rush him back to the field.  If I were a devoted Colts fan, I'd be more worried as to whether this injury signals the potential beginning of the end for the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback. (**Update 9/7 - Who Is Telling The Truth About Peyton's Neck?)

How serious was this injury to begin with?

Rumors flew after the 2010 season began that Manning had suffered some sort of neck injury and it was causing pain to shoot down into his throwing arm.  He had already had one neck surgery in March of 2010 to remove calcium deposits on his cervical vertebrae.  Whether that pain was carried over from the pain he had before his first neck surgery is unknown.  The Colts never listed Manning on the injury report all year.

After the season was over, Manning reportedly trying every non-surgical option to help his pain, but finally consented to surgery in May after doctors told him there was no other choice.  He might have had the surgery done earlier had he been allowed to have contact with Colts Team doctors in the off-season.

What they apparently found wrong was a bulging cervical disk putting pressure on a nerve.  The disk was reportedly removed, but Manning has not recovered the way that everyone expected him to.  Three months after the surgery he is still not taking part in Colts practice.

Why is the rehab taking so long?

The first question to really ask is, is he still having pain? If he was, I would think that the Colts would be far more aggressive in getting a quality backup for him already.  I don't think that this is the case, as the Colts are quite comfortable with their current backups, who really aren't that good.  So they must be expecting Peyton back this year.

The second, and more important question is: was the bulging disc the true cause of his neck/arm pain, or is there something else going on?

Perhaps the Colts staff is simply being cautious considering this is Peyton's second neck surgery in the past 18 months.  Manning is THE franchise, and not allowing him to participate in full football activities until he is 100% is a prudent move.

However, it's also quite possible that the bulging disc's pressure on the nerve itself is causing lingering symptoms of tingling and weakness.  Depending on where along the cervical spine the disc was bulging, Manning could be having weakness in his biceps/triceps/shoulder.  It's not as if simply lifting weights will make it stronger.  The nerve itself has to heal and that can take weeks.

The Colts may simply not want Manning out in full view of reporters/public with a weakened arm at this point.  Hiding what's truly wrong with him is a strategic move.

Does this bode bad news for Manning going forward?

Only if the situation is far more serious than everyone is admitting.  Peyton's older brother, Cooper, was pushed out of football after doctors discovered he had severe spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal due to degenerative changes in the cervical joints) in his cervical spine.  Cooper was in college when he started having numbness in his hands and arms.  Three surgeries later, and Cooper was out of football because doctors couldn't completely fix his issue.

Nobody is saying this, and this is pure conjecture, but what if Peyton is developing a similar issue just later in life? The Colts are not required to reveal the true cause of Peyton's nerve problem.  Cervical spinal stenosis is a slowly progressive condition, and unless symptoms develop, you'd never know you have an issue.  It could, like a bulging disc, be putting pressures on the nerve roots of Peyton's cervical spine.  However, unlike a bulging disc, the future implications are more serious because you can't stop the underlying degenerative changes that are taking place.  You're bound to continue to have recurring symptoms just due to the progressive nature of the disease over time.

If Peyton continues to suffer this season/next off-season from this neck issue, then you'd have to look at the possibility that Peyton's underlying neck condition is potentially career-threatening.

***Update 8/26: Colts considering taking Manning off the PUP list (physically unable to play). Don't get your hopes up, it's not because he's ready to play.
***Update 9/4:  Does Peyton Need Another Neck Surgery???
*** Update 9/8:  Peyton Gets Third Neck Surgery, a Spinal Fusion; Out At Least 8 Weeks
*** Update 9/9: Video Explanation of Peyton's Surgery By Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Eric said...

With my fantsy luck he will need a 3rd surgery. I tried avoid him in the draft and still got him

Jules said...

Sorry about that, but I'm thinking it's true. Just wrote about it on here.

DailyNewsLatest said...

Now is the time for Colts fans to hit the panic button.
Peyton Manning Injury Update

Anonymous said...

Time for everyone to take an objective look at this situation. The disectomy seems to have not been successful, leaving only one option left for Manning...a fusion of the C-spine. And, would believe that is defenite career end for Peyton. Everyone needs to be ready for the reality that he may never take another snap again.

Anonymous said...

I have cervical spine stenosis. Surgery won't help. There is no cure. Count him out.