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Report: Peyton hits a plateau

John Schnatter, Peyton Manning, Jerome Bettis

COMMERCIAL IMAGE- In this photograph taken by AP Images for Papa John’s, NFL stars Peyton Manning (center), Jerome Bettis (left) and Papa John’s Founder, Chairman and CEO John Schnatter appear in a commercial shoot at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Louisville-based Papa John’s (NASDAQ: PZZA). The future of Manning has been a hot topic; his future this weekend is appearing in the commercial, which will air during the NFC and AFC Championship games unveiling Papa John’s Super Bowl XLVI promotion. (AJ Mast/AP Images for Papa John’s)


With each passing day, it seems less and less likely that Peyton Manning ever will play again for the Colts. The next question is whether he ever will play again for anyone.

On that point, there are ominous indications. Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported during last night’s Pro Bowl pregame on NBC that Manning isn’t doing well. Now, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that Manning has not shown improvement in the velocity of his passes since he began throwing again in December.

Two unnamed “league-affiliated doctors with experience in spinal fusion surgery” tell Cole that it could take up to a year for Manning to know if he can return to action.

As Cole points out, Manning naturally remains optimistic and determined. But if the nerves don’t improve, there’s really nothing he can do.

And so while his status with the Colts will be known with certainty soon, everything else about his future will remain uncertain for weeks, maybe months. Maybe longer.