Given how well he has bounced back since undergoing two spinal fusion surgeries in 2011, one would think that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s health was 100 percent hunky-dory.
In such a case, one would be wrong.
Speaking to legendary sports columnist Peter King on King’s Monday Morning Quarterback radio show, Manning stated that he still has no feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand four years after his operations.
“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” the 39-year-old Manning told King last week. “It’s crazy. I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, ‘Don’t count on the feeling coming back.’ It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, ‘Today’s the day!’ Then it’s not.”
Given how well Manning has performed since coming to Denver after spending the entirety of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, having tossed 131 touchdowns to just 36 interceptions in three years in the Mile High City, it’s easy to see why one would assume that there wasn’t any reason to be concerned about him. Over that stretch, he also set NFL records in 2013 as he threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes. The following year, he became the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes when he broke Brett Favre’s record of 508.
But it appears that just like former Colts great Johnny Unitas and many other NFL legends before him, Manning could be headed down the road of post-retirement aches and pains that end up dogging former football players. By the time of his death from a heart attack at age 69 in 2002, Unitas had lost almost all use of his right hand due to the multitude of injuries he had during his playing days.
Unfortunately, barring nothing short of a miracle, it appears that Manning is headed down a similar road. It just goes to show just how much people are willing to go through for the game they love, and at what cost.
Given how Manning’s surgeries prevented him from playing at all in the 2011 season, perhaps he should take a step back and reassess things.
Denver opens the season at home against Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens on September 13.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports