NFL Injury Report: Should Colts' QB Peyton Manning Return to Action in 2011?

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NFL Injury Report: Should Colts' QB Peyton Manning Return to Action in 2011?
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Before the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers kicked off the first game of the 2011 NFL season, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts dropped what could be the biggest news of the season.

Manning underwent his third neck surgery, a cervical neck fusion that will likely keep him out two to three months at a minimum. It was the culmination of a long offseason of rehabbing for Manning, who hasn't yet been put on injured reserve.

The big question now is, should the Colts end Manning's 2011 season and put him on IR, even if there is a chance he could return late in the year?

It's a tough decision to make for both Manning and the Colts, and one that has many aspects to consider.

Neck injuries, and surgeries in that area, are risky business. Manning would know first hand, as his brother Copper Manning's spinal stenosis forced him out of football despite being a top prospect for the University of Mississippi. 

A third surgery on his neck is certainly reason for concern. Now, most doctors that have talked on this issue do not consider this to be a career-ending surgery. Most have came back from this injury, and it could be easier for quarterbacks to return and not feel the lasting effects. 

But returning to action this season is something Manning really needs to analyze. If you're going to miss two to three months (or eight to 12 games), why come back at all? Isn't this an injury that should be given all the time in the world to ensure you're fully recovered?

That's for Manning to decide.

But the Colts also need to make a choice. They already witnessed Manning's rehab and how slow it's been. Is it reasonable to expect him to make this deadline?

Roster spots are valuable in the NFL, and holding one for a guy who might not play this season is an interesting pro-con debate.

Another thing to consider is the fact that the Colts might not even be playoff relevant by the time Manning is ready to go. With Kerry Collins starting at quarterback, the Colts could be in line for a 5-11 or 6-10 season. Why rush Manning back if that's what you're looking at?

In my mind, there's no reason to bring back Manning this season. Give him the year off to get his neck right. At this time, there is no point to Manning rushing back. He's won the MVP's, he has the records and he's still wearing a Super Bowl ring.

Let Manning make a full recovery and plan for the 2012 season.  

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