Manning benched; herniated disc and back pain prompted multiple spine surgeries

Sep 8 2011
Peyton Manning, quarterback for NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, will miss the start of the regular season. He is currently sitting out due to his second spine surgery since May following a herniated disc.

This marks the first time that Manning, who won four league-MVP awards, will miss a meaningful game after 227 consecutive starts, according to

Earlier this week, the athlete started to experience back pain after training. The team ordered him to stop practicing pending further medical examination. After promising to update fans on Manning’s diagnosis, management released a statement on Sept. 8 confirming that he had a single level anterior fusion surgery to stabilize his spine. This procedure commonly follows operations on herniated discs, which he underwent this past spring.

As soon as the quarterback is ready, he will begin a rehabilitation regimen mapped out by his surgeon, the Colts’ statement said, noting that two former teammates also had single level anterior fusion last winter and have since resumed their careers.

In May, Manning had spine surgery to remove part of a disc in his neck after experiencing pain in his throwing arm. The procedure was done in order to relieve the pressure on the nerves, according to Sports Illustrated. The team expected the athlete to report to training camp after a recovery of six to eight weeks. However, Manning was unable to perform until he started practice this week, which caused back pain.

The spinal cord is protected by vertebrae, and between these bones are soft, gel-like cushions known as discs. If one of these discs becomes herniated, it can put pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain that could radiate to different parts of the body. Sometimes, surgery is needed to remove part or all of a disc in order to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve. A neurosurgeon speaking to Sports Illustrated said recovery can take up to two months.

Sports journalists have speculated that Manning may have aggravated his recovery with excessive rehab exercises. In anticipation of Manning missing the start of the season, the Colts turned to retired quarterback Kerry Collins, who re-signed with the team one month after announcing his retirement.