Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been medically cleared by two doctors – including the man who performed the most recent surgery on the signal-caller’s neck – to resume his NFL career.
Dr. Robert Watkins was one of two men who evaluated Manning and decided he could go back to playing football. Sources claim Watkins recently examined the 35-year-old quarterback in Los Angeles and concluded that the neck is stable. So stable in fact that he would even allow Manning to play football this weekend if necessary.
Watkins advised the quarterback to continue his aggressive rehabilitation, which should make him ready for the beginning of the 2012 season.
Manning’s other doctor, neurosurgeon Dr. Hank Feuer, is reported to have told his patient, “If you were my own son, I’d tell (you) to go play.”
A source also claims that Manning had a throwing session on Tuesday with Colts receivers Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White. Apparently he has been having similar workouts with various receivers lately in an attempt to regain his arm strength.
If he is indeed healthy, Manning’s potential return could put the Colts in an awkward position. The four-time MVP is due a $28 million bonus on March 8 that will trigger the final four years of the five-year, $90 million contract he signed before the 2011 season.
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay has a difficult decision to make, he has repeatedly claimed that any decision on Manning will be strictly based on the quarterback’s health.
The Colts have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft and most experts expect them to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, and not trade the selection away. Whatever happens, the franchise simply can’t afford to have both Manning and Luck on the team, it must choose one or the other.
It will be interesting to see how this one turns out now that Manning appears set to return to the game and not retire.