UPDATE: Chris Mortensen is now reporting that Manning had another surgery this morning, with a minimum recovery of 2-3 months. According to Mortensen, there's no word on whether Manning will be placed on IR.
With rumors swirling that Peyton Manning's neck and back ailments will cause him to miss the entire 2011 season, Colts owner Jim Irsay did nothing to calm Colts fans down Thursday morning with this tweet:
The mystery surrounding Manning's injury has been arguably the preseason's most fascinating storyline. The initial word was that he just needed a couple extra weeks to recover from offseason neck surgery -- then the Colts signed Kerry Collins out of retirement, leading to speculation that Manning's injuries were more severe than first thought. And Wednesday, Colts exec Bill Polian confirmed that Manning would miss Week 1.
Now, Irsay's cryptic announcement that Manning will be "out for awhile" figures to lend credence to the theory that Manning might not suit up at all this year.
As of yet, the Colts have not placed Manning on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which would force him to sit out through Week 6 but would also free up a spot on the 53-man roster. Without making that move, they're leaving open the possibility that he will return some time in that window. There just has been no indication when. Until Manning is ready the Colts' fate rests in the aging hands of Collins and backup Curtis Painter. Collins will get the nod in Week 1 against the Texans, but the prospect of a season without Manning could force Indianapolis to explore any other options that might be available.