By Bill Bradley, contributing editor
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the medical talk show host who played college football, explained Thursday what Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will face when he undergoes his upcoming neck exam.
"The first thing they will look at is whether or not motion causes pain," Dr. Oz said during "NFL AM." "Does it cause shooting neurologic pain? Does he have weakness of his arms or shoulders?
"Then they're going to want to make sure that the neck is stable. It's a little harder to do, but they want to determine if this repair that they did, which has really given him a remarkable recovery, might be unstable and thus lead to a significant neurological issue if he were to get hit the wrong way."
Manning threw for an NFL-record 55 touchdowns last season, leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl. The accomplishment came three years after he underwent two neck surgeries.
"His doctors have been fabulous," Dr. Oz said, "and I trust that they will be able to ascertain whether he is healthy."
As for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who underwent lower back surgery for a herniated disk during the last week of the NFL season, Dr. Oz said he seems to be on the road to recovery.
"Back surgeries or anything on the spine can be tricky," he said. "Unlike Peyton Manning who had multiple surgeries on a very fragile part of the body -- the neck -- the lower back is generally well insulated. You've got a casing around it of strong muscles and the like.
"If you have a disk (problem), you take the disk out and preserve the flexibility of the spine. That's one thing. If you have to fuse bones together, that changes the equation a little bit because now you're putting extra pressure outside the place that was fused. The 'slinky' of the spine won't curve as much."
He said he thought Romo will make a full recovery.
"As a quarterback, he doesn't have to get hit every single play," Dr. Oz said. "Everything I can tell would indicate that he will be able to return hopefully by the beginning of the season."