The bad news is that Peyton Manning has no feeling in the fingertips on his throwing hand. The good(?) news is that he hasn’t had feeling in those fingertips for four years now.
Manning reveals the lingering effects of his three neck surgeries in this weeks’ MMQB:
“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said Thursday. “It’s crazy. I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, ‘Don’t count on the feeling coming back.’ It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.”
So that’s fairly horrifying, but from a football standpoint it’s negligible. We have Manning’s first two years in Denver as proof that he doesn’t need full tactile sensation to be an extraordinary QB. (It can’t be repeated enough how incredible Manning’s recovery was. One of his surgeries involved full cervical fusion, and there was no guarantee that he would regain his range of motion or that his nerves would heal enough to let him play football. Plenty of observers, me included, thought he was pretty much done. That was three playoff appearances and one MVP award ago.)
As for Manning’s disappointing 2014, he says he was hindered by a stomach virus that led to dehydration and a quad cramp that bothered him the rest of the way. For what it’s worth, the Broncos say Manning’s throws have a lot more on them in camp. Dude’s 39 years old now, so I don’t know how much zip anyone can realistically expect, but even without feeling in his fingertips, Manning’s healthier than he has any right to be.