Manning underwent surgery July 14 to have an infected bursa sac removed from his left knee and has been on the physically unable to perform list the entire preseason. He has never missed a regular-season start in his 10-year career.
"We have a chance to get Peyton activated and out to practice. So we'll see how that goes," Colts coach Tony Dungy said Monday.
Manning got limited light work in practice last week and was on the sideline, but not in uniform, during Sunday night's 20-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi, who started the first three preseason games in place of Manning, also missed Sunday's game because of a sore knee.
Due to the injuries to Manning and Sorgi, Dungy said the Colts might keep three quarterbacks on the roster during the regular season.
"We have not been a three-quarterback team since I've been here, but I would think, especially early in the season, we would be," Dungy said.
Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray played Sunday and are battling for the third quarterback spot.
"A lot of that depends on the medical report on Jim," Dungy said of the QB rotation on Thursday. "If Jim's not able to go, it very well could be the same, Jared and Quinn splitting a half again."
Dungy said the Colts would not thrust Manning into a full workout schedule, even if he is activated.
"I think we'll ease him in and see how he practices and what he's able to do," Dungy said. "We'll see from there."
Manning did not speak with reporters Monday.
Dungy said with only three days to prepare for the Bengals, Manning is not likely to play Thursday against Cincinnati. Sorgi, kick returner T.J. Rushing and center Jeff Saturday also could miss the game because of knee ailments.
All three underwent MRIs on Monday, but the results were not immediately announced.
Dungy also said rookie tight end Tom Santi and wide receiver Roy Hall might return to practice this week.
Santi also has been on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing a surgery similar to Manning's in early July. Hall has been nursing a strained hamstring for the past two weeks.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press