Peyton Manning: Will Reported Stem Cell Procedure Push Colts to Look for New QB?

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There was a Peyton Manning sighting at the Indianapolis Colts' training facility this weekend.

Don't get excited, he wasn't throwing the ball and he certainly wasn't in uniform.

ESPN reported that "Manning did some light therapy and watched a portion of Friday's practice, but there are no plans for him to attend Sunday's home opener against the Cleveland Browns."

There was also another report, this one from Jay Glazer on Fox Sports' pregame show, that Manning was in Europe receiving a "stem cell" procedure this week.

According to Rotoworld:

Stem cells—likely fat cells from his stomach—were placed in Manning's neck in an attempt to accelerate nerve regeneration. This type of stem cell therapy is not available in America. The procedure must not have worked as hoped considering Manning still went under the knife for a third neck surgery. The stem cell treatment will not affect his recovery timetable.

This is very bad news for the Colts. Manning's neck injury is obviously a lot more serious than any would lead on about. The potential of him never getting back to full strength is a legitimate concern.

Neck and nerve injuries aren't subject to normal healing. And it is, this, and the fact that the Colts look terrible, highlights the Colts' need to find a long-term solution at quarterback a lot sooner than they anticipated.

Manning's five-year contract extension was a necessary move for the organization, but so is their acknowledging that a new face is needed within the next year or two.

And this year's draft might be the best time to do it.

The Colts may or may not be the league's worst team with Manning off the field, but if they're anywhere close, they'll have consider Stanford's Andrew Luck as an option. The junior quarterback is widely considered the best quarterback prospect since Manning himself in 1998. They may never get another shot at a player like him. 

This year may actually become a wash for the Colts altogether. Kerry Collins is the best veteran option other than overpaying for someone like Carson Palmer (who isn't even available) or David Garrard, and the rest of their team isn't good enough to compete without No. 18 under center.

Indianapolis has to accept this—they may already have it you follow Colts owner Jim Irsay on Twitter—and do something about it.

This stem cell procedure may not have helped Manning, but it needs to be enough to spur the Colts into action for the future of their franchise.