Doctor cautious after Peyton Manning’s neck surgeries

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER -- Before anyone steps on a football field, even if they are a legendary NFL player like Peyton Manning, they have to be healthy.

Peyton Manning is about to turn 36 and missed all of last season after multiple neck surgeries.

It’s understandable that Broncos team doctors and executives have a few questions before signing a $90 million contract with the future Hall of Famer.

"One, is he healthy? And I think, two, does he really want to play football?” says agent Peter Schaffer.

Schaffer is a Denver attorney who represents some of the biggest names in professional sports.

He says that despite having the best doctor in the business, Manning's future is uncertain.

"You have to worry about the injury to the nerve and how that affects the throwing motion. Playing quarterback is the most difficult position of all sports."

University of Colorado Sports Medicine physician Dr. Sourav Poddar treats pro and college athletes. He says Manning’s neck surgeries are potentially "game-changing" events.

"He's been cleared surgically (but) can he perform like he's been able to perform in his career? That's what it comes down to,” Poddar says.

Both Dr. Poddar and Schaffer wonder if Manning's ability to throw and move under pressure will be limited by bone fusion done to stop nerve irritation and inflammation in his spine.

"You got the two things,” Schaffer says. “You got the doctors who are going to look at the neck and then you got the personnel people saying 'does this guy still have it?'”

"Whenever you have hardware put in, your motion is not the same. So again the question boils down to can he be functional?” says Poddar."

The Broncos think Manning still has what it takes. John Elway said Manning threw the ball great during a workout for team management and doctors in North Carolina Friday.

But both experts FOX31 Denver spoke with say there is a big difference between throwing on an open field and scrambling under pressure.

That's when the questions of moving around and throwing with NFL accuracy following such an injury really come into play.

Related: