Modest though he may be, Peyton Manning ranks up there with an elite category of NFL quarterbacks, having earned more MVP awards than any other player (having a Super Bowl ring doesn’t hurt either). But with the lockout continuing to linger on into July, when most players would be working with trainers and physicians to ensure their peak health, the most durable quarterback of all time is now recovering from a neck procedure almost entirely on his own.
On May 23, Manning went into surgery to correct a disc problem, though the process was said to be ‘minimally invasive’, ensuring that recovery time would only amount to six or eight weeks. The average, unemployed American (remember, Peyton is technically unemployed) might hesitate on a health problem because of skyrocketing costs in the hope that the injury will go away on its own, but Manning says he had little choice in the matter. The recovery, he knew, would be entirely independent of the trainers and Indianapolis facilities he would normally use.
“I’ve been very, very cautious and taking it very slow because I have been somewhat on my own in some ways. When you find a good trainer and a good rehab guy that you like, it’s a pretty special bond. These guys kind of know your body. So the fact that I haven’t had access to my guys and I’ve been somewhat on my own, I’ve been extra cautious and extra slow and making sure we don’t have any setbacks.”
When asked how his recovery is shaping up, he seemed genuinely unsure. “It’s really hard to give yourself an evaluation because I really need my trainer and my doctor to get their hands on me and work for me.” NFL players and owners are still arguing, which means that if fans don’t get a season, at least Peyton can be assured his neck will have plenty of time to recover. Last week, while coaching young players at his own football academy, Manning didn’t throw a pass once. Talk about taking it easy.
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