Clarity on Peyton Manning’s status hard to find

The cameras on Sunday night showed Colts QB Peyton Manning up in the coaches’ booth during the team’s loss to the Steelers, and that’s a sight fans in Indianapolis should get used to for the rest of the season.

Or is it?

The situation surrounding Manning’s status as he recovers from neck surgery got a little murkier Monday when Colts owner Jim Irsay reportedly told a group of Super Bowl donors during a morning breakfast that Manning is likely out for the season — only to back off that stance later in the afternoon with a post on Twitter.

So what’s it gonna be? Is Manning done for the year or not? Depends on who you ask.

“I guess reality is somewhere in the middle here,” NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora said Monday on “Around the League”. “And actually both sides, what they’re saying is true. It’s just a matter of are we talking grounded in absolute science and medicine? Or are we talking about reality and projecting where this football team is going to be in a couple of months?”

NFL Network’s Albert Breer played doctor to offer a more definitive conclusion.

“Medically, if you look at this injury, it’s very unpredictable how it’s going to go,” Breer said. “And I’m not talking about the spinal fusion. He should be good with that in three or four months. The question is, when the nerves regenerate. That’ll bring back the strength in his arm and his hand, and that is where things are very unpredictable. … Maybe he’s ready in December. But the more likely scenario with an injury like this for athletes is the nerves do not regenerate for nine to 12 months.”

Regardless, La Canfora says not to expect Manning to be placed on season-ending injured reserve. He points out that, with Manning due to make a $28.6 million bonus next season, the team will want to evaluate him on the practice field if possible — even if he doesn’t play in a single game.  Manning can’t practice if he’s placed on IR.

So, that’s about all there is in terms of clarity.

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