Colts' Manning takes next step in recovery, begins throwing

Peyton Manning has some rare good news for the NFL's only winless team: His ramped-up rehabilitation program includes more throwing.

Coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday that Manning has picked up his regimen, though the four-time league MVP was not scheduled to practice with his teammates Wednesday. It's still unclear when or if Manning will return to the practice field and what the repertoire includes, though he acknowledged two weeks ago that throwing more was the next step in his recovery.

"That's what he does," Caldwell said when asked about throwing the ball. "They have been working with him in that area. That's part of it, but it's nothing revolutionary."

Manning disclosed nearly two weeks ago that the next phase of the process would include throwing passes -- and possibly even practicing -- although he was still working through the exact specifications of this second step to a full recovery.

"I still do believe that practice is a great avenue to answer some questions to see where you are, and we'll make that determination in this next phase," Manning said. "If that's good, I'd like to do that. If it's better to keep rehabbing in a private setting, it's whatever (the doctor and team trainer) thinks is best.

"Is (practice) what I'd like to do? Yes. But I'd also like to play Sunday."

The Colts are 0-13 this season, and Manning hasn't played a down as he recovers from his third neck surgery in a span of 19 months. Doctors cleared him to start throwing the ball earlier this month.

"Once he's fused, he's stable to play," said Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery and spine surgery at the Brooklyn Hospital Center who did not treat Manning. Asked how long it would take Manning to regain the strength in his throwing arm, Cohen said: "I would suspect it probably happened while the bone was knitting."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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