Medical view of Manning developments

Stephania Bell, ESPN's resident physical therapist, was kind enough to share some thoughts on the most recent development regarding Peyton Manning's recovery from neck surgery.

Here's what she said in an email:

"It's very encouraging from the point of view of the fusion itself. It indicates the fusion has healed. Manning can gradually increase activity without fear of damage to the area that was repaired. The fixation of the fusion means the bony segment (where the two vertebra are fused together with bone graft) is stable. Theoretically the remaining piece is regaining strength/conditioning of the muscles that support the area (neck, upper back, etc), further cardio conditioning and resuming sport-specific activities with ultimate goal of return to practice."

"BUT...as far as the nerve regeneration goes, that is independent of this. We don't really know from where we stand how that's doing. And that will be key in the function of his throwing arm. After all, we heard he had triceps weakness prior to the fusion surgery. That was associated with decreased function of the nerve that supplies the triceps. Can take 6-12 months for that to fully resolve (or less) -- but we just have no indication of where that progression is."

The Colts hope that Manning is able to practice at some point during the remaining five weeks of the season. While the fusion update is significant, his doctor said there still is no timetable for him to join the team on the practice field. The chance for him to do so is shrinking as we cross days off the calendar.