Manning in Positive Frame of Mind as Colts Open 2008 Training Camp
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Peyton Manning didn't expect this.
And considering the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback never has missed a practice, meeting or regular-season game in his NFL career, he certainly didn't want to not be among the 80 players reing to 2008 Training Camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Thursday.
"I'm disappointed I can't be there," Manning said.
Instead, while his teammates reported to camp and discussed the oddity of being without him, Manning stayed in Indianapolis, immobilized following a routine procedure last week to correct an infected bursa sac in his left knee.
Colts President Bill Polian, who a week ago said the procedure was routine and that he expected a four-to-six week recovery period, said Thursday "everything seems to be on schedule."
"That (Indianapolis) is where the doctors want him," Polian said, adding of Manning's illness, "You never expect those . . . it's a surprise . . .
"As soon as he's ready to go, he'll be back out there on the field."
Manning, who spoke to reporters early Thursday afternoon via conference call, said while he experienced "severe" pain before the procedure, he hasn't experienced much since a day or two following the procedure. He said he was surprised early last week when the need for the procedure arose.
He also said he did not have a firm idea about a timetable for his return.
"It could be as soon as tomorrow or it could be sometime next week," said Manning, who has played in eight of the last nine Pro Bowls. "They really haven't given me any sort of time frame. I've really tried to be patient and positive.
"I haven't hounded the doctors, 'When can I get up there. When can I get up there?' I'm not trying to influence their decision. I've really tried to just take their advice and do whatever I can, although it's pretty limited what I can do as far as getting better.
"It's more just letting the medicine and the time take their course. At this point, we're just trying to make sure the infection is gone."
Said Polian, "It's hard to put a time frame on it. The infectious disease specialist has to clear him. That's No. 1. Then, he has to rehab. Some of that is slow going, because it's debilitating. An infection is not an easy thing to overcome, but all the signs are positive.
"This is a short-term thing. It's not a long-term thing."
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said while training camp will have a different feel without Manning, he added, "That's part of how we do things."
"We've had that happen at other positions," Dungy said. "We certainly haven't had it happen with the quarterback since I've been here, but part of the whole process is getting used to doing what we do and not really worrying about who's here or who isn't. We have to go forward and we will.
"But hopefully, just for a short time, though."
Manning said while he may be immobilized for some time, he hopes to report to camp even if not yet ready to participate.
"I still am prepared to be somewhat immobilized, but I would rather do that in Terre Haute than here in Indianapolis," Manning said. "I can be around the trainers, who are all there in Terre Haute. I've always had video set up in my dorm room, where I can watch practice and kind of keep tabs.
"Even though I won't be able to participate physically on the field. Mentally, I want to stay sharp with the film study, knowing what's going on in practice, knowing what plays we're focusing on. Certainly, you can still have conversations with coaches.
"Those are things I would certainly like to get up there and participate in, although the whole time the No. 1 focus would be any sort of rehab I can do. It's just a matter of when I can start that rehab and at this point, we're still on a day-to-day basis."
Said Dungy, "We're going to do what's best for the healing process. He wants to be here. That's going to be our biggest challenge, keeping him under control and listening to the doctors for the next few days."
Manning said he hopes to return once the infection is totally "out of the woods and not susceptible for it to return."
"We feel at this point the infection has resolved itself, but to be up there around 150 guys is probably not the smartest thing at this point," Manning said. "That was certainly my goal last Monday, when we had the surgery done, that I'd still be able to report to training camp on time, but we're being cautious about it."
Manning, who said he was doing his best to follow doctor's order's for rest and staying off the knee, said he experienced swelling in the knee during the off-season, but that the issue had been addressed and he had lifted, thrown and conditioned normally.
Then, on the morning of July 14, the day after the end of the Manning Passing Academy – a high school clinic he, his father, Archie, and his brother, Eli conduct each summer – he awoke in New Orleans with what he called severe pain in his left knee and had difficulty walking. He flew immediately to Indianapolis.
"It really happened pretty fast," Manning said. "We didn't see it coming. It was very unexpected, but knowing my body pretty well, I knew something wasn't quite right. I certainly had planned to enjoy that last week before training camp. I was going to just work out, relax, play golf. Next thing you know, I'm on the operating table in Indianapolis.
"It's never a good time to have surgery, but we feel like we caught it in the early stages and it's certainly better now than in Week 4, I guess."
Manning said he is keeping the leg constantly compressed and elevated, and said he currently has an IV for antibiotics in his left arm.
"I'm in a positive frame of mind," Manning said. "I hope to be up there when the doctors release me and tell me I can get up there. I'm just kind of taking it day to day and hoping it will get better. That's my goal, is to get up there as soon as I possibly can.
"This is pretty uncharted territory for me. I've never had the experience. I've always taken all the repetitions and had 100 percent participation in training camp and minicamp. You hope with the minicamps and summer school that I have enough deposits in the back in order to be ready for the season, maybe without as much training camp time.
"To think you can parachute into the new (Lucas Oil) stadium the Sunday of the Bears game (the regular-season) opener) is ridiculous, obviously. I'm going to need some time and want some time. Hopefully, that can be as much as possible. Obviously, whatever the doctors tell me and however the rehab comes along, the sooner I can get out there the better."