Just six days before the Colts open the season against the Texans, the team has announced that Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning will stop practicing because of continued problems associated with neck surgery he underwent in May.
"During the last week, the rate of improvement in Peyton’s rehabilitation process slowed," the team said in a statement issued a few minutes ago. "Over the weekend, Peyton experienced soreness in his back. It was originally thought to be a normal reaction to his rehabilitation regimen. When the soreness persisted, the Colts medical team decided to initiate diagnostic tests and to consult with a number of specialists around the country who have been involved in Peyton’s case from the outset. That process continues. As a result of the most recent development the doctors have decided that Peyton will not practice. His participation therefore, in Sunday’s game versus Houston will likely be doubtful. We will update his playing status as required by NFL policy as the week goes on."
The statement said that the team would announce any further developments "at the conclusion of the diagnostic process," although the team didn't indicate when that process would be completed.
"As of now Peyton continues to deal with a complicated neurological recovery, the end date of which is unpredictable," the statement said.
The Colts did not say whether Manning would need any further surgery to deal with the problem. Manning, the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, has never missed a game in his NFL career. He has started 208 straight regular season games and 19 more in the playoffs.
If Manning is ruled out of Sunday's game - and in all likelihood, there's little chance he will play - newly acquired Kerry Collins is expected to start in his place.