Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak spent Thanksgiving morning monitoring a slew of injuries on his roster during the team’s shortened morning practice. The Thursday injury report is headlined by five time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. Also on the turkey day injury report was defensive end DeMarcus Ware, guard Evan Mathis, defensive lineman Vance Walker, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Owen Daniels.
Manning was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup with the New England Patriots and long-time rival Tom Bradyon Monday with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and injuries to his ribs and shoulder. However, it is as yet unknown when Manning plans to return.
NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport reported Thursday morning that the Broncos and Manning were targeting a return in week 15 for the Broncos matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That report was swiftly denied in a tweet by Broncos PR Director Patrick Smyth. “This is an inaccurate report,” Smyth said. “Nothing has changed from what coach said. He is unavailable for at least two games and will be evaluated after that.”
There is widespread speculation that the Broncos intend to sit Manning for an extended period of time in order to give a multi-week audition to fourth year backup Brock Osweiler. Manning spent Monday in Charlotte, NC receiving a second opinion on his injured foot from Dr. Robert Anderson, considered by many to be the nation’s leading expert on foot injuries in athletes. During the visit, Manning was fitted with a cast and a walking boot to help assist in his recovery.
Manning’s fellow team captain DeMarcus Ware hasn’t seen the field since re-aggravating a back injury during the Broncos 24-27 loss in Indianapolis. Ware is not expected to be ready to play this weekend, but Kubiak is optimistic about his long-term prospects. “I think he’s close,” Kubiak said. “He’s taking steps forward.” Ware did not practice Thursday.
Guard Evan Mathis was the only other Bronco who did not participate on Thursday. Mathis is dealing with an ankle injury suffered during last week’s 17-15 victory over the Chicago Bears. However, at this time he is expected to suit up for the Broncos on Sunday night as are defensive end Vance Walker and tight end Owen Daniels.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was inactive last week in Chicago with an ankle injury has participated in practice at a much more regular rate than last week and appears to be well on the road to playing Sunday night.
That should come as good news to Brock Osweiler as the young gunslinger prepares to start his second career game against the undefeated Patriots.
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