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Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw not 100% healthy yet, but close

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Bradshaw had his C3 and C4 vertebrae fused six months ago.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Ahmad Bradshaw played in only three games for the Colts last season, but in all three he made a significant impact. He best game was Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers. Bradshaw rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

Then, sometime during the third quarter of the 49ers game, Bradshaw sustained an injury that aggravated a nagging issue in his neck.

After the game, doctors evaluated Bradshaw and determined that, to resolve the chronic neck issue, spinal fusion surgery was the solution. Bradshaw was placed on injured reserve. Afterwards, he and his doctors set about correcting an issue not too much different than what Peyton Manning went through back in 2011.

Bradshaw spoke to the media this week about his road to recovery. From Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star:

"They say (the correction) is permanent," Bradshaw said. "I think it makes it stronger. They fused the bone, the C3 and C4. It's two vertebrae working together now, so I think it makes it stronger. And (the doctors) think so, too. Everything's coming along. I'm getting stronger. I'm starting to touch the field and run a lot more. It's all upside for me."

Even though Bradshaw felt the surgery was the best option, missing almost all the 2013 season was a blow.

"It's devastating, man. I've never missed a football season in my life. Right now, I'm just jumping back out on the field. I feel like a kid in a candy store."

The next step is whether or not Bradshaw can handle contact. Back in 2011, many speculated that Peyton Manning's career was finished after his spinal fusion surgery. One of those people was Peyton's brother, Eli Manning, who also happens to be a former teammate of Bradshaw's. Bradshaw and Eli Manning won two Super Bowls together with the New York Giants.

Peyton Manning plays quarterback, a position that runs from contact. Bradshaw plays running back, a position that runs into contact.

Bradshaw also told media he was excited about playing once again with his old Giants teammate, Hakeem Nicks. "He's like my brother," Bradshaw said. When asked if Bradshaw had anything left to contribute to the Colts this season, Hakeem Nicks told the media that the seven-year back runs like "a young beast," and that Bradshaw has plenty left to help the Colts.

In three games for the Colts last season, Bradshaw averaged 4.5 yards-per-carry and scored three touchdowns.