Updated Sept. 5, 2011 @ 3:24 p.m. ET
The Colts have decided to hold out QB Peyton Manning out of practice for the time being, leaving him "doubtful" to play in the team's season opener against Houston.
In a statement issued by the team Monday, it said that Manning had developed soreness in his back that initially was thought to be part of the rehabilitation regimen from his May neck surgery. However, when the soreness persisted, the team consulted with specialists, and a decision was made to hold Manning out of practice.
As a result of this development, Manning's streak of 227 consecutive games started is in jeopardy. It's the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, trailing only Brett Favre's streak of 297 straight starts. Manning has never missed a start during his 13-year NFL career.
If Manning is unable to play against Houston, recently signed 17th-year veteran Kerry Collins would start.
Here is the complete statement issued by the Colts with regard to Manning's condition:
"During the last week, the rate of improvement in Peyton's rehabilitation process slowed. 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.
"At the conclusion of the diagnostic process, if there are any new developments in the prognosis which we outlined for Peyton at the start of training camp we will report them. As of now Peyton continues to deal with a complicated neurological recovery, the end date of which is unpredictable.
"As was stated at the outset, it serves no useful purpose to speculate about hypothetical outcomes. When and if there are concrete medical facts to report we will do so.
"We appreciate your consideration in this matter."
Speculation about Manning's availability for the opener heightened Sunday when Indianapolis radio station 1070-AM The Fan tweeted that Manning needed a second neck procedure and would remain out indefinitely. Colts GM Bill Polian responded to questions about the tweet, saying, "I don't know anything about that. I honestly don't."
The Colts have neither confirmed nor denied the possibility that Manning might have to undergo another procedure on his neck, as suggested in the radio station's tweet.
The way we see it
The Colts' fortunes rest on Peyton Manning as much as any other team's success depends on one player. Although Kerry Collins appears to be a better short-term alternative than Curtis Painter, he has been with the team less than two weeks and will need time to fully learn the system. In any case, he's no Peyton Manning. Although Manning keeps himself in good physical condition, the lingering nature of this injury has to concern the team a great deal about Manning's future durability after he had shown such resilience during the first 13 years of his NFL career.