PLANNING TO PLAY

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, a day after going through pregame warm-ups for the first time in the 2008 preseason, said he plans to play in the regular-season opener on September 7 against Chicago. He missed all five Colts 2008 preseason games after undergoing knee surgery in July.

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Manning Says He Would Be Surprised if He Doesn't Play Against Chicago
INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning won't make any guarantees.

But as far as his intentions, and as far as what he plans to be doing on Sunday, September 7, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback – who missed all five Colts preseason games – was very clear Friday.

He plans to be in Lucas Oil Stadium.

And he plans to be starting against the Chicago Bears in the Colts' regular-season opener.

"That's certainly my plan," Manning said Friday, a day after he went through pregame warm-ups before the Colts' 27-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 preseason finale at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night.

"Hopefully, it feels a little better each day. I guess it'd be hard to sit here and say, 'There's no doubt in my mind,' because you're still dealing with rehabilitation and how the knee responds to the amount of work we're doing. We still have to be smart about that throughout this week.

"I'd say we're on point for that (playing in the opener). That's certainly where I intend to be on Sunday."

Manning, who underwent surgery to remove an infected bursa sac in his knee 10 days before the start of Colts training camp on July 24, attended the team's preseason loss to Buffalo this past Sunday night. Tuesday and Wednesday were his first official practices since undergoing surgery, and he also practiced Friday during a brief afternoon session at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

Although he did not play in the Colts' preseason finale Thursday, he dressed and went through his pregame warm-up routine for the first time in 2008.

"It was good to get back out there, get in uniform and be around the guys," Manning said. "Hopefully, that will sort of be the norm from here on out, because that's the way I prefer it. I'm still going to have to do some things to get better."

Manning, who never has missed a regular-season game in 10 NFL seasons, said he believed he had a productive week this past week, continuing a rehabilitation process that he said likely will continue throughout the season as well as returning to meetings and practices.

He said including the warm-up session Thursday, he essentially practiced four times. The Colts will be off Saturday and Sunday before returning to practice Monday.

They then will be off Tuesday before beginning full-scale preparations for the Bears on Wednesday.

"I am happy that I got some work in this week," Manning said. "Next week we'll hopefully get into sort of a normal routine – have the meetings and the practices – and at the same time still take care of the therapy. I will say that was a good thing to get back out on the field this past week as opposed to waiting for this coming week.

"I really hope to take the majority of the reps next week in practice and have as normal practice week as we can have. I would be surprised if I'm not out there playing Sunday night."

And while Manning said while not participating in training camp or preseason games is not an ideal way to prepare, he said he was pleased with the progress made in a short period.

"This is what we have to do in order to get ready," Manning said. "I can't really predict. It's kind of uncharted waters for me missing the entire training camp, but we'll have to go with the time we have left. We certainly have been preparing for the season-opener for some time from a film standpoint. It will be good to get back on the field and do more of the physical activity.

"I got in some good practices this week, so I think that's imant."

ETC., ETC: The Colts on Friday went through a brief workout that Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy called the last practice of the preseason. "I told the guys after it was over, 'We're now in the regular-season mode,' " Dungy said. "It does feel good. All in all, it was a good preseason for us, a good training camp." . . . Colts players will be off Saturday and Sunday, with coaches and personnel officials meeting to determine the final roster. The team under NFL rules must trim the roster from 75 to 53 players by Saturday evening. "We'll try to get eight of those guys back on the practice squad," Dungy said. "It's a tough time of year, a tough day, but we'll get through it and hopefully put together the best 53-man team for us. The better your team is, the better the players are you're letting go. That's always hard, to let good, young player go. Fortunately, that practice squad does help you. You feel like you can get eight of those guys back. Some of that goes into play – not necessarily who the best player is, but who you think you have the best chance of getting back." . . . Center Jeff Saturday, who sustained a knee injury in the Colts' preseason loss to Buffalo on Sunday, is "leaning against having the surgery," Dungy said Friday. "We're still evaluating that. We'll probably make a decision in the next couple of days. Dungy said he did not expect Saturday to be placed on injured reserve. "From talking to Jeff, I don't think that will be a possibility right now," Dungy said. Said Manning, "Jeff is one of the old-school, warrior type of guys and he has not ruled anything out in his mind. I think (rookie offensive linemen) Jamey (Richard) is going to be the guy (who starts at center in Saturday's absence). Monday morning at 8 o'clock, Richard and I were taking snaps." . . . Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi, who missed the last two preseason games with a knee injury, expects to be ready for the regular season, Dungy said Friday. "Jim is doing well," Dungy said. "I talked to him today and he's very, very confident he'll be able to play. He looks a lot better and is moving better today."

Manning Says He Would Be Surprised if He Doesn't Play Against Chicago

Intro: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, a day after going through pregame warm-ups for the first time in the 2008 preseason, said he plans to play in the regular-season opener on September 7 against Chicago. He missed all five Colts 2008 preseason games after undergoing knee surgery in July.

By John Oehser

Colts.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning won't make any guarantees.

But as far as his intentions, and as far as what he plans to be doing on Sunday, September 7, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback – who missed all five Colts preseason games – was very clear Friday.

He plans to be in Lucas Oil Stadium.

And he plans to be starting against the Chicago Bears in the Colts' regular-season opener.

"That's certainly my plan," Manning said Friday, a day after he went through pregame warm-ups before the Colts' 27-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 preseason finale at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night.

"Hopefully, it feels a little better each day. I guess it'd be hard to sit here and say, 'There's no doubt in my mind,' because you're still dealing with rehabilitation and how the knee responds to the amount of work we're doing. We still have to be smart about that throughout this week.

"I'd say we're on point for that (playing in the opener). T

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