Peyton Manning's career was cast into doubt in 2011 when he had multiple neck surgeries, missed an entire season and was released by the Indianapolis Colts. The Denver Broncos rolled the dice and signed Manning in 2012, but the 14-time Pro Bowler revealed to Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he hasn't had feeling in his right fingertips during his entire tenure in Denver.
Manning had four surgeries on his neck due to a herniated disc that was causing him pain, but the cervical vertebral fusion that he underwent caused damage to nerves, which can take time to regenerate.
It took some time for Manning to regain the strength and muscle function in his arm, but he told King that he's still waiting for that to fully return to his fingers.
"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."
Evidently, the lack of feeling in his fingertips hasn't done much to slow Manning, who has 131 touchdowns in just three seasons with the Broncos, including a record-breaking 55 touchdowns in 2013. At 39, Manning is nearing the end of his career and showed signs of slowing near the end of the 2014 season, although a torn quadriceps muscle likely contributed to the decline in his play.
Manning has played in and started in all 256 games of the 16 seasons he has played, missing only the 2011 season due to his neck surgeries.
* * *
SB Nation presents: We need more Tim Tebow coverage