When the Denver Broncos play the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field Sunday, a few questions will be answered. Can the Broncos win with key players missing from their vaunted defense? And, why was Peyton Manning’s rib injury hidden?
The Broncos will be battling a fired up Chiefs team that will be treating the match like the Super Bowl. Now that information has surfaced on the condition of the Broncos’ signal caller, the intensity of the game will likely be personified.
Manning ended up on the Broncos report earlier this week with a foot injury. The word on the injury was that it was soreness from playing on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium this past Sunday. Manning did not put in a full day’s practice this week, but was listed as probable for Sunday’s game and is expected to play.
A foot injury was the only one Manning was thought to be dealing with. But news dropped on Saturday morning when the Broncos announced that Manning was also dealing with a rib cage injury.
Protecting Manning will be extremely important for the Broncos in this game. The Chiefs have two very good edge rushers in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, and they will probably get to Manning a few times today. The Broncos offensive line will need to limit the hits on Manning, or his injuries could become more severe. They will undoubtedly be going for his torso and foot.
The term “rib cage injury” can mean multiple things. He could have cracked ribs. He could have bruised rib cartilage, which hurts almost as bad as broken ribs.
Regardless of what the particular injury is, it’s unlikely that it happened between Friday’s practice and Saturday afternoon. Which means that he quite possibly had the injury problem before Friday’s report, that it wasn’t disclosed, and that the Broncos decided not to risk getting in trouble with the league office and disclose the situation.
The 39-year-old has thrown for 2,145 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season while leading the Broncos to a 7-1 record. He is three yards from breaking Brett Favre’s record for all-time regular season passing yards, and one win away from breaking Favre’s mark for career wins by a quarterback.
Could the Broncos be thinking of playing him to get the records and then resting him for the playoffs?
Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post feels that way. He’s in favor of letting the legend rest to heal his aging body.
“Peyton Manning is one tough hombre. He has played nearly 300 NFL games, been sacked more than 300 times and endured four surgeries on his neck. That’s the definition of tough. But his foot is aching now, the same as his quad was barking last year. Know what the technical medical term for both those maladies is? Getting old. So here’s my modest proposal: Give backup Brock Osweiler game snaps down the stretch of this season to keep Manning healthier for the playoffs.”
That may not be a bad idea. The Broncos will definitely need him down the stretch.
[Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images]