Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins fans holding out hope that Peyton Manning will suddenly walk through the doors of Sun Life Stadium and rescue the bumbling franchise may need to target a new quarterback.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks, Manning hasn’t had three procedures on his neck in the last year; he’s had four.
In addition, Banks is reporting that Manning may have developed bone spurs in his neck after the last surgery and may require a second bone fusion surgery.
Three of Manning’s surgeries were known. The fourth unreported procedure reportedly took place last summer in Chicago, according to SI.com.
Since it happened while the NFL was locked out, Indianapolis Colts team doctors had little if any contact with the franchise signal-caller.
According to Banks, Manning tried to come back last season in Week 16 to play when the team would reach the red zone.
Obersevers said Manning never threw a pass of more than roughly 22 yards and had about 80 percent of his normal arm strength on his passes, according to SI.com.
The news couldn’t come at a worse time for Manning. He’s involved in a public dispute with the Colts over whether the team will retain him and pay him a $28 million roster bonus and a $7.5 million base salary this season.
Manning has vowed to come back and play this year, but in his recovery from surgery on his neck; he’s still waiting for nerves to regenerate in his arm to regain his arm strength.
It’s unknown where Manning stands in his recovery from the surgery.
But, if SI’s report is accurate and Manning has to undergo another neck surgery; it could put both his 2012 season and the rest of his career in serious jeopardy.
For the Dolphins, it’s yet another red flag the team should monitor if its considering pursuing Manning if he’s released by the Colts, as expected.
Fins owner Stephen Ross has made no secret of his desire to upgrade the quarterback position, and Manning, if healthy, would be at the top of everyone’s list.
But, the Fins have to make a quick decision on the quarterback position. Manning will be released shortly before NFL free agency begins.
If the Fins are intent on pursuing Manning, that will likely preclude them from pursuing free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.
In addition, the Fins could opt to look past Flynn and Manning and trade up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin, III.
RGIII, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, is expected to be the second quarterback selected after the Indianapolis Colts select quarterback Andrew Luck.