Peyton Manning might could be back on the active roster in the next two weeks.
If not, the Colts will play the first six games without the four-time MVP.
League rules require players on the physically unable to perform list to be activated by the team’s final cutdown, September 3, or sit an additional six weeks.
Conventional wisdom suggests Manning will be activated soon recognized coach Jim Caldwell thing on Friday night after a 24-21 loss to Green Bay.
“I would say that it’s certainly a realistic possibility here and it could happen shortly,” Caldwell said.
That’s the closest to Caldwell has come to say when Manning might return.
Indy’s franchise quarterback has been on PUP since practice began Aug. 1, and Caldwell has repeatedly said Manning practice until after the doctors clear him.
Last Saturday, Manning told reporters he would not play in two preseason games and that he the next two weeks to get healthy. Although officials are recognizing that the Colts Manning’s rehabilitation is underway, it remains a preseason game and time is running out.
“We’ve got a week and a half to make that decision,” general manager Chris Polian told The Associated Press on Friday night.
Manning is still recovering from may neck surgery, which was supposed to keep him off the field for six to eight weeks. But the recovery has gone slower than expected, in part Manning said, because he could not work out with the team’s trainers during the 4 1/2 -month lockout.
Over the past week, concerns over Manning’s health have grown.
Last Saturday, team owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter that the Colts needed to be prepared to start the season without their franchise quarterback, an inconceivable thought until now, and asked fans asking for suggestions on Indy must sign a copy Veteran backup.
On Wednesday, after speculation Indy was talking Brett Favre, the Colts brought another room of his retirement, former Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins.
Manning has already ruled himself out of next week’s preseason finale at Cincinnati, and Friday that he’s still hopeful he can play in the Sept. 11 opener at Houston.
“I sure hope so. I’ve never missed a game in my entire football career due to an injury since I was 13 years old, and I sure don’t want to miss Week 1 of the season,” Manning said. “That’s my goal is to be out there to play and, not just play, but to play competitively. I want to be out there to help my team win and if I’m able to do so, I’ll be out there.”
Manning has started 227 consecutive games, including the playoffs, the second-longest streak in NFL history for quarterbacks behind Favre.
Colts officials have repeatedly said that there has been not been a setback in Manning’s recovery, something Polian reiterated Friday.
“He’s still progressing in rehab,” he said. “He’ll be ready when he’s ready and that’s when the doctors and he (Manning) say he’s ready.”
In the meantime, the Colts have been refining the backup plans.