There have been rumors swirling for days - most of them grim - about the status of Colts' quarterback and sometimes Patriots nemesis Peyton Manning, who underwent neck surgery on May 23 (the second of his career).
And now it appears the rumors were true: the Colts have announced that after testing and consultation, Manning underwent another surgery today, a "single level anterior fusion."
There is no timetable for his return, though the Colts said they will not place him on injured reserve. NFL Network's Michael Lombardi said the recovery time is 2-3 months, but some reports say that is optimistic.
It was announced earlier this week that Manning would not start for Indianapolis against Houston, the first time in his career - a span of 227 games - that he will not be the Colts' starting quarterback.
Recently-signed veteran Kerry Collins will start in his place.
Manning began training camp on the physically unable to perform list was was removed by the Colts last week. He began practicing lightly, but pain returned to his upper back and neck, leading to another round of testing.
The 35-year old Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract to remain in Indianapolis last month. He received a $20 million signing bonus, and will earn $3.4 million in base salary for 2011 and a $3 million roster bonus if he is on the 53-man roster come Sunday (and not placed on IR, which the team said it will not do at this time).