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On Manning, there's too much guessing

When Peyton Manning had a second knee surgery in 2008, the Colts were hardly forthcoming about it.

So the trust factor isn’t strong here.

But their statement Monday about Manning’s condition and the progress of his rehab included this: “As of now Peyton continues to deal with a complicated neurological recovery, the end date of which is unpredictable.”

All indications are that’s entirely true. And while the Colts’ style in telling us that can be somewhat off-putting, we need to be sure to hear what they are saying.

Time and time again, anyone who covers the team or has any connection is asked when Manning will be back.

I believe Manning and the team simply do not know. So while it’s the nature of the business, anyone pretending to know or taking a guess without a major disclaimer is doing us all a disservice.

I’m not guessing, and I’m reminding people that anyone picking an over-under number is guessing. Manning’s doubtful, he’s not practicing. It’s time to come to terms with Kerry Collins as the Week 1 starter.

Tony Dungy did Manning no favors when he said the quarterback would have to be dead not to be on the field. This is a neurological neck issue, not a mind-over-matter issue. (It’s not just a flesh wound, says Bob Kravitz.)

Manning’s never gotten the credit he deserves for his toughness. That comes, in part, because he is masterful at avoiding hits with dump-offs and throw-aways. That he’ll occasionally surrender when he goes down for a sack doesn’t make you think iron man.

But he’s played in 208 regular-season games in a row, and that’s impossible to do without major toughness.

Right now, it doesn’t matter how tough he is. This goes beyond that.