Manning's availability for season opener in doubt

By MICHAEL MAROT | August 20, 2011 | 2:30 PM EDT

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, left, talks with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning following an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Washington won 16-3. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says his team must be prepared to start the season without injured quarterback Peyton Manning, and the club might need to find a veteran backup.

Irsay posted his comments Saturday morning on his Twitter account, less than 12 hours after the Colts lost their eighth straight preseason game.

"We r evaluating the QB sitch,(hash)18 healing but we must 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!," Irsay wrote.

During a conference call with reporters, coach Jim Caldwell was asked again when he expected Manning to be back. Caldwell still hasn't provided a timeline for Manning's return and says Manning still hasn't been cleared to practice.

Curtis Painter, Manning's backup, has started both preseason games.