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Colts' Manning making progress; no timetable for QB's recovery

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has progressed well from September neck surgery and has been cleared to intensify his workout but there is no timetable for his return to practice, his doctor said Thursday.

"X-ray and CT examination of the surgical area shows that the fusion performed in September has achieved firm fixation," Dr. Robert Watkins said in a joint statement with Manning released by the team. "Peyton will now be allowed to increase the intensity and breadth of his workouts as tolerated. There remains every indication that his recovery will continue.

"There still is no timetable for Peyton's return to practice, which is one of many steps in his expected return to game action."

Manning, who had a follow-up appointment with Watkins on Wednesday, was optimistic.

"I am encouraged with what Doc had to say," Manning said Thursday. "I am happy that I can increase my rehabilitation program as outlined by him, Erin (Barill) and the Colts medical staff. I am hopeful for continued progress in this next phase of my rehab."

Manning has said that he'd like to practice with the Colts sometime this month and perhaps play in a game late this season.

Manning's ability to at least practice this season will be key as the Colts consider whether or not to pay Manning his $28 million bonus this offseason.

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