Manning arrives at camp, whereabouts unknown
The two-time league most valuable player had surgery July 14 to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee but still has not appeared on the Colts' practice fields. Team officials are keeping his whereabouts hush-hush.
"He's doing fine. He's here and he's immobilized," coach Tony Dungy said after Tuesday morning's practice. "We don't want a lot of people seeing him, so that's why we're not saying where he is."
Manning did not report with the rest of his teammates to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Thursday, though he did answer reporters' questions during a conference call and said then that it probably wasn't smart to be around 150 people.
Doctors are taking a cautious approach to Manning's recovery to lower the risk of infection.
He was initially entrenched at his Indianapolis-area home, his knee compressed and elevated while he took antibiotics intravenously. Dungy's statement suggests Manning still isn't able to get around easily and Manning made it clear that if he was going to be immobilized, he'd rather be in Terre Haute where he had quicker access to team trainers.
For one of the league's best and most durable quarterbacks, it's a rare absence.
The last time Manning didn't report with his teammates was 1998 when he missed five days because of a contract holdout before his rookie season. Since then, Manning has made 160 consecutive regular-season starts, the second-longest streak in league history behind only Brett Favre (253).
He's never missed a regular-season or postseason game and has missed only one play in his career because of injury.
Jim Sorgi, a fifth-year veteran, has replaced Manning during the team's first six non-special teams practices and is expected to start Sunday night's preseason game against Washington. Sorgi has completed 77-of-126 passes for 751 yards with six touchdowns and one interception in sparse backup duty.
Teammates have given Sorgi good reviews for what he's done in training camp so far.
Rookie tight end Tom Santi is recovering from a similar injury and the Colts are using Santi's rehabilitation program to get a better idea of when Manning might return. Santi was diagnosed with an infected bursa sac during the league's rookie symposium last month and had surgery about two weeks before Manning.
Santi reported on time and has been seen on the field although he has not yet practiced. The sixth-round pick out of Virginia has declined to take questions about the injury.
Dungy continues to believe Manning is on schedule to make it back within the four to six weeks the team initially predicted. The prognosis means there's a good chance Manning won't practice at all before the Colts head home from Terre Haute on Aug. 15.
"We were told it would be six weeks from the onset [of Manning's surgery]," Dungy said. "Our big thing is not to rush him out here for Week 3 or Week 4 of the preseason. There's no reason to rush it because we're looking at the long haul."
Manning isn't the Colts' only big-name player missing the early part of training camp.
Defensive player of the year Bob Sanders, 2004 league sacks champion Dwight Freeney, starting guard Ryan Lilja, starting linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and Santi remain on the physically unable to perform list. None is expected to play in this weekend's Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.
Dungy believes all the players except Hagler will be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 7 against Chicago.
Should Freeney get his way, he might be the first one back on the field. Freeney is recovering from November foot surgery.
"Dwight is lobbying to be full-go," Dungy said with a smile.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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