Irsay backtracks on out-for-season statement about Manning

Peyton Manning has an outside chance of returning in December, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Twitter after local media quoted him saying Monday morning that the injured All-Pro NFL quarterback would be out for the season.

The team also issued a statement saying that Manning’s status hasn’t changed. He had surgery Sept. 8 to fuse bones in his neck and is out indefinitely.

Local media outlets reported that Irsay, speaking Monday morning at a breakfast for Super Bowl donors, said that Manning would practice in December though the team is focusing on his availability for the 2012 National Football League season.

Irsay later posted on Twitter: “I didn’t say Peyton out 4season FOR SURE, keeping him on ActiveRoster n taking it month by month/Outside chance of return n December.”

Avis Roper, a spokesman for the Colts, said Manning’s status hasn’t changed since the team’s last statement following his surgery, which stated that there was no estimation of a return date for the four-time league Most Valuable Player and that he would remain on the team’s active roster “until we have a clearer picture of his recovery process.”

“He is in the process of healing and rehabbing from his recent surgery,” Roper said in an e-mail. “The team will inform everyone when that status changes.”

The Colts fell to 0-3 last night in Manning’s absence, losing 23-20 at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers as backup quarterback Kerry Collins left the game with concussion symptoms. Collins was replaced by Curtis Painter, who fumbled a ball that Troy Polamalu returned for a score. Painter also led a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Manning, 35, a five-time first-team All-Pro, had never missed a game before in 13 NFL seasons.

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