"Peyton Manning's pain not go away any time soon. A doctor familiar with neck surgeries said there isn't a clear-cut timetable for recovery from such procedures and it's not a given the damaged nerve will ever heal.
That the Indianapolis Colts four-time NFLMVP quarterback is experiencing weakness in his throwing arm so far removed from a May 23 surgery suggests the nerve hasn't healed, said Dr. Neel Anand, director of Orthopedic Spine Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
"The nerve was injured in some fashion, he has some weakness and now you're waiting for that nerve to recover," Anand said Tuesday. "Depending on the extent of the injury, it could take six weeks, it could take two years. And there's no guarantee it will come back...
Manning, 35, had what was described as a "minimally invasive" surgery in Chicago to remove part of a bulging disk. He had a similar surgery in March 2010 to alleviate pain from a different pinched nerve.
But his latest recovery hasn't been as smooth as the first.
"If all things went well with the (recent) surgery, he should be very much healed," Anand said. "So if he hasn't, I'd think that particular condition has gotten worse or he has a new condition, he's got a new disk (problem) elsewhere. That would make the most sense.
"But we really don't know how bad (the damaged nerve) was to begin with."
It's also more common for an athlete with one neck problem to develop another.
"I always tell patients it's like having four tires on the car," the doctor said. "If your one tire went bad, you know the other three aren't that good. They all are around the same number of miles and took the same hits. http://www.indystar.com/article/20110907/SPORTS03/109070334/Unnerving-development
The bottom line appears to be that Peyton's neck problems are dissimilar to a sprained ankle, or a torn ACL. With time, a QB can return to health. But this, especially for a 35 year old QB, may be something that lingers indefinitely.