Manning On Schedule, Won't Play Against Cincinnati, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – He practiced this week and did everything as planned.
He warmed up. He threw. He moved around.
All of which meant that as far as the progress of Peyton Manning goes, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said there have been plenty of positives thus far.
Manning, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has missed the first four preseason games after offseason knee surgery, also will miss Thursday's preseason finale, Dungy said. But Dungy said Manning's goal of returning for the September 7 season opener remains unchanged.
"He will not play in the game, but he's right on schedule," Dungy said Wednesday as the Colts (1-3 in the preseason) prepared to play the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) in the 2008 preseason finale at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Thursday at 7 p.m.
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 practices since undergoing surgery.
"He actually did well," Dungy said Wednesday morning when asked about Manning's Tuesday workout. "He threw. He did his warm up and got in the individual period and the ballhandling and he threw routes versus and threw some one-on-one.
"He threw very well and moved around and did fine. We did not have him in any of the team work, but he did fine. He hasn't experienced any problems.
"So far, so good."
Told that Manning looked as if he was moving well during the earlyion of Tuesday's practice open to the media, Dungy smiled.
"We've been telling you guys that," Dungy said. "He's been doing a lot of things. We have a pretty extensive workout before we let guys get back out on the field. Guys like (safety) Bob Sanders and (defensive end) Dwight (Freeney) and (tight end) Tom Santi and (linebacker) Tyjuan (Hagler) go through a routine with (Director of Rehabilitation) Erin Barill on the side – individual work. It's like a decathlon, so when we clear guys to come back, I usually don't worry about how they're going to be.
"They've gone through a lot and he (Manning) has. He's worked and he's doing well."
Dungy said Manning and several other injured players likely will work out Thursday, but said few starters will play.
"He seems to be on schedule," Dungy said of Manning. "We have a limited amount of work for him to do today (Wednesday). He'll get some work game day, actually. We have a number of guys who are going to do the same thing – work out, but probably not play.
"He'll get some work in then. So far, so good, but everything's on schedule."
Dungy said Wednesday enough frontline players won't play because of injuries or otherwise that there wasn't time to read the entire list during his final meeting with the media before the team's final preseason game.
"I can give you the list of the guys who will play and it will probably be shorter," Dungy said, smiling.
Among the starters who Dungy said Wednesday won't play because of injuries: cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), defensive end Robert Mathis (ankle) and defensive end Raheem Brock (ankle). He also said Sanders and Freeney – a pair of Pro Bowl players who returned this past Sunday after extensive offseason rehabilitations – likely will be among the available starters not playing.
Rookie linebacker Philip Wheeler, a third-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, returned to practice on Tuesday from a knee injury and is expected to play Thursday, Dungy said. Tight end Tom Santi, who missed the first four preseason games after offseason bursa-sac surgery, also will play on Thursday, Dungy said.
"We've got a lot of updates on guys like Kelvin and Robert that we didn't know for sure if they'd be back and ready to go for Chicago, but now it looks like they will be," Dungy said. "So, we've gotten a lot of good news."
Also out Thursday, Dungy said, will be reserve quarterback Jim Sorgi, who started the first three preseason games before missing a loss to Buffalo this past Sunday because of a gimpy knee.
"He's doing better," Dungy said. "He appears to be healing. The swelling's going down. He's not here today, but he is doing better. Dave Hammer's really happy with his progress."
Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray split time at quarterback against the Bills, and although Dungy said Gray likely will start he said both will play against Cincinnati.
Lorenzen, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Giants, has completed 35 of 65 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in four preseason games and Gray – who spent the past five seasons with Jacksonville – has completed 37 of 69 passes for 525 yards and two touchdowns with six interceptions.
"Of course it's a big game," Lorenzen said. "Every game you go into is a big game, especially when you're going to get to play a lot. It's going to be me and Quinn again and that's what we look for. We look for as many snaps as we can get. I think we feel pretty comfortable in this system now, and now we just have to perform better."
Dungy said how many quarterbacks the Colts keep on the final roster – two, three or four – likely will depend on the status of Manning and Sorgi.
"It's still to be determined," Dungy said. "A lot of that will be the medical report on Jim and Peyton. Those guys are both going to play and we'll see how they do, then we'll determine whether we keep four or three or two. We haven't ruled anything out. A lot of that will be medical opinion on our quarterbacks."