Peyton Manning made an impromptu locker room appearance during the Colts' open locker room period Thursday. The update he provided to the media was not especially encouraging, but wound up in the same place a lot of previous updates did: He’s waiting for positive signs.
"We're still waiting for the fusion to take place, it's still going slow with that and we still have some issues with the nerve and the regeneration of the nerve. There's really not a schedule, a timeline of where I am…"
"I'd say December is the next checkpoint, and February is another checkpoint. If I'm at a level where I'm cleared to practice, then the greatest venue to see where you are is on the practice field."
December will be the last chance to practice with the team and February is when Manning expects the Colts to decide on his contract option.
"It's a one-year deal with a four-year extension," Manning said of the contract he signed after the lockout. "Part of the reason to practice is so the Colts have a fair chance to evaluate where I am. The team has a right to know where you are physically and where your health is."
I believe Manning makes an appearance like Thursday’s when he feels like he needs to reset the conversation, which has recently centered on whether he will be able to return for practice, his contract, whether the Colts would draft Andrew Luck and whether the Colts will stick with Jim Caldwell.
He expects the Colts will make their decision on that in February, which is surely why he listed the month as a key checkpoint in his recovery.
On questions about Caldwell and Luck, he did well to be direct about steering clear.
"Those are all fair questions,” he said. “But that's not what I'm going to talk about right now.”