Team officials said that part hasn't changed. But Manning's role will change.
Colts owner Jim Irsay used Twitter on Monday to clarify comments he reportedly made during a private breakfast with Super Bowl donors, comments that indicated the franchise quarterback would miss the rest of this season.
"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 possible," Irsay wrote.
The Colts' final regular-season game is Jan. 1.
After having neck surgery Sept. 8, Manning was expected to miss at least two months and possibly more, which still might cost the four-time league MVP the entire season.
Manning's three-game absence followed a streak of 227 consecutive starts, including the playoffs, since being taken No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft. Not surprisingly, the Colts are off to their first 0-3 start since '98 without him.
But after being seen at Colts practices last week and spending Sunday night's game in the coaches' booth, the speculation turned to whether or not he would be healthy enough in time to make it back this season.
The Colts will continue to wait.
"The protocol hasn't changed one iota," Colts vice chairman Bill Polian told radio listeners Monday night. "He's still on the active roster, and we have said time and time again that we will leave him on the active roster until the doctors tell us it's impossible for him to come back this year.
"He's exercising. He's doing a lot more than he did a week ago. The bottom line is nothing has changed, and he will have some examinations and tests down the line, quite a little while from now. It's not imminent."
The Colts haven't provided a timetable for Manning's expected return.
"Only time will tell," Polian said. "I will quote one of the doctors, a very eminent physician, who said, 'There is no magic potion, there is no device, there is no X-ray technology, laser technology anything that we can use that will tell us when this nerve will regenerate. When it does, it will.' Knowing that, there is no point in speculating."
So until he's healthy, Manning will be the Colts' highest-paid adviser after signing a five-year, $90 million contract in July.
"He's a resource for us, and he's a guy that's been around this system for a long time," coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's what I identify as, 'intellectual property,' and I don't think that you're very smart if you don't use it. We use everything we possibly can to try to get ourselves in position to get a victory."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press