Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning lost feeling in his fingertips as a result of four neck surgeries he underwent, causing him to miss the entire 2011 season.
Still to this day, Manning explains the feeling has not come back:
“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said (via MMQB’s Peter King). “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.”
Despite Manning’s loss of feeling in his throwing hand, he has completed an incredible 1,245 passes for a total of 14,863 yards and a whopping 131 touchdowns over the last three seasons. That’s quite impressive.
In the interview, Manning also discussed his quad injury towards the end of the 2014 season, chalking it up to dehydration from a stomach bug which had him briefly stepping out of a game against the San Diego Chargers:
“I threw up all night,” he said. “Then, in the game, I moved to the right on a simple scramble and my quad cramped on me. It lingered. I couldn’t shake it the rest of the year.”
Manning swears the questionable quad injury was solely related to dehydration and and not his age. The injury is something that has been a controversial point which many believe was more due to wear and tear to Manning’s body.
“I really studied it hard this offseason, whether it could linger into this year or whether it was isolated. I just think I got dehydrated, and that caused it. I don’t think you can blame it on my age. It was just an isolated thing.”
After the injury late last season, Manning was in rare, poor form which saw him throw four interceptions in Week 16 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Additionally, in the divisional playoff loss against the Indianapolis Colts, Manning only managed 211 passing yards and one touchdown.
Discounting the sour patch of performance last season, it’s really incredible that the 39 year old quarterback has produced the stats he has while not feeling his fingertips.
The main challenge for Manning this season will be his ability to fight the natural fatigue that is bound to set in late in December. Perhaps the new offensive scheme, which will be more run-heavy than it has been in the past, will help keep that awesome gun-slinging arm fresh all season long.