Colts' Manning undergoes surgery to fix bulging disk in neck

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning underwent neck surgery Monday in Chicago to repair a disk problem, but he should be ready to play by the preseason, according to team owner Jim Irsay.

It's the second neck surgery since February 2010 for Manning. The previous operation was to repair a pinched nerve, but this procedure was less invasive and less complicated, Irsay said Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meeting.

"He had a bulging disk," Irsay said of the NFL's only four-time league MVP. "The doctors removed a part of it.

"It's usually a 6-to-8-week recovery period. I think this is one you can bounce back from quickly."

Dr. Richard Fessler, the same surgeon who did Manning's first neck surgery, also performed this operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The quarterback was back at home Tuesday.

Manning told The Indianapolis Star that he only recently started feeling discomfort in his neck and that the two operations were unrelated. He also said he anticipates "a quick recovery," and, according to a statement released by the quarterback, will begin the rehabilitation process, "ensuring his readiness with regard to the resumption of any and all activities of the National Football League as scheduled."

"There is plenty of time for recovery," said Manning, who noted that he worked out within a week and lifted weights within two weeks following last year's procedure. "We'll formulate a plan moving forward."

Even though the NFL has locked out its players, communication between teams and players in these cases is allowed. So Manning was able to contact the team and its doctors before heading to Chicago for the operation.

"Now is the time to do it, the end of May," Irsay said. "He's had things tougher than this before."

Irsay, of course, has a special interest in Manning, who has started 227 consecutive games including the playoffs, second only to Brett Favre's 321. Manning's contract is up, but there is little chance that Irsay will allow the 35-year-old signal-caller to become a free agent once a labor agreement is reached.

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Earlier in the day, Irsay told NFL Network's Albert Breer that he hoped to sign Manning to a long-term deal once the lockout ends.

"He has a great chance to play five years," Irsay told The Associated Press. "He's such a tough guy, takes care of himself and really, really works hard. This won't affect his long-term career.

"I feel good about it. This doesn't affect the way I view (a new contract)."

Irsay suggested that Manning's backup quarterbacks will throw more in training camp and see plenty of action in the preseason -- if the lockout ends in time to play those games.

"It's like a baseball pitcher," Irsay said. "You want to limit the throws he takes. But I think he will be good to go for the preseason games."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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