ENGLEWOOD — Peyton Manning doesn’t like to skip any snaps, so you can imagine how unhappy he was Wednesday when a tender ankle forced him to miss practice for the first time since joining the Denver Broncos last year.
“It was Greek’s call,” Manning said of head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos. “I can assure I didn’t go down without a fight. But hopefully I’ll use the day to get a little better, feel a little better.”
Manning said he plans to return to practice Thursday when the banged-up Broncos (6-1) continue preparations for Mike Shanahan’s return to Denver with the Washington Redskins (2-4).
Manning was knocked around by his former team in his homecoming on Sunday night. His mix-and-match offensive line allowed him to get hit 10 times, including four sacks, two by Robert Mathis, in a 39-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Coach John Fox declined to identify which ankle was bothering his star quarterback, and Manning deflected questions about it, too.
Showing his sense of humor was still intact even if he’s not up on current events, Manning cracked: “I know government is shut down right now but I still very firmly believe in HIPPA,” the federal medical privacy law. “So, I will refer all questions to the injury report.”
That report, of course, didn’t specify which ankle was hurt, nor the severity of the injury, although Fox did allow this bit of detail: “It’s nothing serious, just sore.”
Manning was one of seven starters who sat out Wednesday’s workout, joining right tackle Orlando Franklin (ankle), right guard Chris Kuper (ankle) and wide receivers Eric Decker (toe) and Wes Welker (ankle) on offense along with cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and defensive end Shaun Phillips (hamstring).
Manning was never knocked from the game Sunday night, although his passes were wobbly after a big sack
strip by Mathis that resulted in a safety that gave the Colts early momentum.
“It’s a physical game out there and I don’t know who, in their 16th year, ever feels 100 percent at any point,” Manning said. “I’ve been hit a lot. I’ve taken big hits and it’s part of football is getting up and getting back in the game.”
After stretching with his teammates Wednesday, Manning donned his helmet but was strictly an observer as backup Brock Osweiler ran the offense at practice.
Osweiler called it a productive practice even though he was surrounded by fellow subs.
“It’s nice to call your own plays and remember how our offense works rather than just running the scout team,” he said. “I thought it was great. It was a lot of fun. We got a lot of great things accomplished today and I’m definitely better for it.”
The rare heavy workload, he added, “definitely helped me out in case something was to happen in a game, I’ll be ready to roll.”
When the scrum of reporters around his locker broke up, Osweiler said, “Talk to you guys in probably a couple of months.”
Aside from 2011, when Manning missed the whole season because of neck troubles that affected his right triceps, the league’s only four-time MVP has hardly missed a day of work since a brief holdout at training camp his rookie year in 1998.
There was a knee injury in 2001, a bursa sac issue at training camp in ‘08. That’s about it.
“He’ll practice tomorrow,” Fox said. “This is a little rest time we thought was well needed.”
Notes: MLB Wesley Woodyard (neck, limited) said he expects to play Sunday after missing 2½ games. ... Only 5 players remain from Shanahan’s tenure in Denver: Bailey, Kuper, Woodyard, K Matt Prater and injured LT Ryan Clady.