Big Update: Peyton Manning Had 'Cervical Fusion' Surgery Today, Career In Doubt

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

From ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who has a direct line to the Colts and Bill Polian:

Sources say Manning had surgery this am - cervical fusion with 2-3 month minimum recovery.No word on whether he will be put on IR.

Manning actually just got out of surgery. No plans for injured reserve as doctors monitor fusion result, per sources.

The news of this specific kind of surgery is very serious. From Will Carroll:

If reports of cervical fusion are correct, this is potentially career ending.

For the first time in this evolving story, the very real possibly of Peyton Manning's career being finished is real. 'Cervical fusion?' Wow.

A two to three month recovery is certainly possible. But, one just does not jump back and play after, essentially, having one's spine fused.

This news is potentially catastrophic not just for the Colts, but the NFL in general. Peyton is the face of the NFL. More so than Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, or anyone else.

Just when you thought this story could not get any worse.

Should Manning return this year, a two-three month timetable puts him returning at or about the New England Patriots game on December 4th in Foxboro. Obviously, we'd all love to see Peyton back and playing them, but this is now something that could effectively end his NFL career.

[UPDATE]: From Jason Brewer, editor of Bleeding Green Nation, wrote this in the comments:

If Manning had career ending surgery on an existing condition weeks after signing a $90 million deal, some insurance investigators are going to be at Mr Irsay’s office demanding answers. Could be major legal ramifications.

[UPDATE 2]: From ESPN.com:

Manning decided to have the surgery, the sources said, after consultation with a half-dozen doctors who reached a consensus that the most viable option would be a one-level cervical neck fusion in the wake of his May 23 surgery to repair a bulging disk. It's unclear whether Manning would be able to return to play this season.
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