Growing up, Eli and Peyton Manning played a lot of one-on-one basketball together as the sport could be competitive for them despite their five-year age difference. Is it possible that this brotherly competition had anything to do with the younger Manning seeking medical attention for his ankle? The Giants organization says no, but the fact remains that Eli underwent surgery on Thursday after picking up a basketball and posing with Peyton and others for pictures at Duke University.
Manning underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ankle in Charlotte, NC with renowned surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson. The surgery, we are told, is to alleviate pain that was caused by an injury that Manning suffered when he was nearly sacked in the regular season finale against Washington. Manning suffered a high ankle sprain as a result of that play. Originally, both Manning and the team decided to avoid surgery, hoping that rest and simply keeping off of the ankle would allow for a full recovery.
The younger Manning was at Duke University along with Peyton and most of the Denver Broncos’ receiving corps in support of his brother’s third annual exclusive passing camp. The elder Manning uses Duke University as a venue for the camp because of his connection with Duke football coach David Cutcliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator when the two were at Tennessee.
There is no photographic evidence or eyewitness testimony proving that Eli had actually played basketball while at Duke. The New York Giants Pro Bowl quarterback did perform some football work while on campus, however, which he has done the last three years, and the Giants were well aware of. He says that he was able to get some good work in while at Durham before heading down to Charlotte for the surgery.
Manning says that he went through recovery and rehab after suffering the sprain, and that the work he did at Duke helped him to accurately evaluate where his ankle was at. Whether or not a pick-up game with Peyton was part of that work is anybody’s guess, but after the camp Manning decided that it was best to undergo surgery.
“I was still experiencing some discomfort as I began my normal off-season preparation,” Manning said. “… After consultation, we felt the right thing was to have Dr. Anderson clean out the ankle.”
Manning, 33, expects to be able to run again in about six weeks. Even before that, however, starting April 21st he will join the rest of the team for the Giants off-season program. He says that he plans to work out hard in the weight room while also taking part in team meetings and study sessions so that he can learn the ropes of the new offense that is being installed by newly hired offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Giants team spokesman Pat Hanlon said that Thursday’s surgery was successfully completed, but it will probably take months to see if the surgery was actually a success. Even after being able to run, Manning’s ankle will not be fully tested until he experiences full contact drills. The blow that his ankle suffered was much more severe than if he had simply twisted it. A 300-pound lineman lunged at it at full force. It will take some time to see how stable and pain-free it actually is. After he underwent surgery, Eli Manning said his plan is to prepare for off-season camp, and not play any pick-up games with Peyton.
Commentary by Jeremy Mika