"(Manning's doctor) has said that he's structurally sound and that the fusion has taken place and that that's healed," Condon said on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live," adding Dr. Robert Watkins said the quarterback "can take a hit and play in a football game."
"Peyton certainly expects to return to play, and he wants to play; he's enthusiastic about it," Condon said. "I think that the rehabilitation is going very well, and I think he believes that also. He's made a substantial amount of progress, and so we anticipate him playing football next year."
Condon said he was responding to what he called "some substantial discussion" that Manning "wasn't going to be able to play and it was too dangerous and he was foolish to even think about it, and that's not accurate."
When NFL Network's Rich Eisen suggested that Manning and the Colts were using the media to "communicate ... what they really aren't saying behind closed doors yet," Condon said Eisen was "maybe not too far off." However, given the high-profile nature of those involved, Condon said "there's not any way to get through this week without" Manning's situation "being a huge topic of conversation." Condon added that the timing of Watkins' most recent assessment of Manning's health was "happenstance."
"Jimmy and Peyton have had a very strong relationship for a really long period of time," Condon said.