Peyton Manning is going back to the Indianapolis Colts' sideline Sunday, but he won't be leaving that sideline for the field anytime soon.
Manning spoke with reporters in Indianapolis on Thursday, telling them that he is making progress in his rehabilitation from neck surgery in early September. He said he is hopeful for a return to the practice field this season, but sounded like a return to game action had slim chances.
Doctors have even given Manning clearance to stand with his teammates on the Colts sidelines this weekend, when the team plays host to the Kansas City Chiefs. That was something about which Manning spoke lightheartedly with reporters Thursday.
I've got breaking news, he said. I'm coming down to the sideline. I've been cleared to come down there.
Manning told reporters that he will get X-rays every four weeks in order for doctors to monitor the progress in his healing neck. The last X-ray -- also the first -- brought good news. So doctors said he can stand on the sidelines this weekend, a move down from the press box in which he's spent the past two games.
Manning hopes to return to at least practice this season, and Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian have every intention of keeping him on the roster so he can practice with the team later in the season. Colts owner Jim Irsay has said that he thinks Manning could be back to practice in December. But injuries piling up might force the Colts' hand.
I think you have to have hope until the doctors rule you out, Manning said of a return. We're having a lot of injuries, so if they come to me and say they have to make a move, I won't fight them on that.
Manning has missed all four of the Colts' regular-season games thus far. And his loss has been devastating for the proud franchise he has led for the past 14 seasons.
The Colts are 0-4 heading into Sunday's game with the Chiefs (1-3), and they are trying to avoid their first 0-5 start since 1997, the year before Manning was drafted. In 1998, the Colts also started 1-4.
You know I'm the only guy to be 0-4 on this team, and what a thrilling win that one over the Chargers was, right? Manning told reporters Thursday, talking about his first-ever NFL victory. Was that the fifth game? Yeah I thought so, so I'll be like all true Colts' fans, hoping for a win Sunday.