(INDIANAPOLIS) - This time it's fact, according to the Colts. Peyton Manning underwent surgery Thursday -a "single level anterior fusion".
Peyton remains on the active roster for now.
But the team concedes that rehabilitation from a surgery like this is "typically an involved process." Experts say that might take an entire NFL season.
Dr. Eric Horn, Indiana University assistant professor and director of spinal neuorsurgery, says it's very likely Peyton will be out all year. He says healing of the bone in the quarterback's neck could take three to six months.
Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll - who tweets frequently on sports injuries - says if Peyton Manning were a fighter pilot, he wouldn't be allowed back in the plane.
Carroll explains that fusion involves pulling out the disc and replacing it with a spacer or a bone graft. That, he says, results in a loss of movement.
Dr. John Cummings--medical director of neurosurgery at Community Health Network, says the disc is replaced with a bone graft or a plastic collar. That stays in place until the two vertebrae have fused together.
The Colts indicate we can expect no further updates "beyond those required by the NFL media policy."
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