Does old, fourth surgery change much?

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
6:16
PM ET
So Peyton Manning’s neck surgery total is four, not three, according to a report Wednesday by SI.com.
Manning
"Manning missed the entire 2011 season after having what was thought to be his third neck surgery in less than two years. There have been conflicting reports about how much progress he has made in his attempt to return for the 2012 season.

"However, according to SI.com's report, Manning had a fourth procedure after his May 23 surgery to fix a bulging disk and before his neck fusion surgery Sept. 9. According to the website, the same surgeon who handled the bulging disk procedure also handled this previously unreported follow-up procedure."

I guess the biggest thing that strikes me out of this is amazement that Manning, his people and the Colts managed to keep it a secret considering how many reporters have looked in on the story. With a four-time NFL MVP, keeping any surgical procedure quiet has to be extremely difficult and unlikley.

Don’t count me among those who believe this adds any weight to the idea that Manning should retire. I’m compelled to comment on a lot, but generally steer clear of telling a guy when his career is over before the league tells him -- with the lack of a contract offer.

It’s completely Manning’s call. A fourth, previously unrevealed, surgery doesn’t change the fact that his doctor has said Manning’s neck is OK to play. I don’t know that it changes what we’ve heard about nerve regeneration and arm strength as the lone remaining issues now.

Also from the SI.com report come details of a plan that would have allowed Manning to play in red zone situations at the end of the season. In a meaningless game, that would have made no sense to me and Manning and the Colts would have gotten shredded for it.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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