Manning, who has what he called a tear in the plantar fascia in his left foot, got the cast off Tuesday night and will now wear a walking boot until Friday. He said he has not thought about his playing future beyond trying to get back on the practice field.
“This is when ‘they’ and ‘sources’ seem to show their heads a little bit . . . I haven’t thought much other than about trying to get healthy,” Manning said. ” . . . I’m going to try to get healthy so I can try to get back. That’s kind of where my focus is.”
Brock Osweiler has played well in Manning’s place, but Manning said he hasn’t given any thought as to whether he would get his starting job back upon his return to the field.
“It’s so far ahead of what I’m thinking about. I’m doing what Coach [Gary] Kubiak asked me to do, and that’s try to get healthy,” Manning said. “I’m following his instructions. I’d love for it to be healthy yesterday, I can assure you . . . there’s no guarantee whatsoever. All the other questions and speculation, I don’t have anything for you on that.”
Kubiak reiterated his earlier point of view — that Manning is the team’s starting quarterback whenever he’s ready to get back on the field.
“We’re totally committed to getting our quarterback, getting Peyton healthy, and getting him back and nothing’s changed,” Kubiak said. “And nothing’s changed where we’re heading this week, Brock’s our starter this week and we’re all in getting ready for San Diego. We’re week to week and we’re doing everything we can to win the next football game, but absolutely nothing has changed.”
Manning, seated in front of his locker, said his foot had bothered him for “some time,” and then he suffered the tear in the Broncos’ Nov. 8 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He rehabbed the injury the following week, then suffered through his worst performance as a pro. He went 5-of-20 passing for 35 yards and had four interceptions in the Broncos’ loss to Kansas City.
Manning, 39, was pulled from the lineup with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter against the Chiefs. Osweiler has started the Broncos’ past two games, both wins.
“I’m not really focused on how long am I going to be the starter, am I the starter, am I not the starter?” Osweiler said. “All I know is I’m the starter this week versus the Chargers . . . I’m focused on being a good teammate, doing whatever I can while playing quarterback to get a win this Sunday.”
Manning echoed the week-to-week mentality.
“I’ll start some rehab Saturday . . . It’s obviously difficult not being out there,” Manning said. “Being a competitor, always being able to play, you always want to be out there, I think any competitor would tell you, would be lying if they said it wasn’t difficult not being out there.”
Manning visited foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson last week, when a cast was put on his foot to immobilize it. Manning said doctors wanted to put another cast on his foot Wednesday when he asked if “there was another option,” and he was given the walking boot instead.
“I think [head trainer Steven Antonopulos] gets about 20 calls a day,” Manning said. “I’m getting about 10 pieces of mail a day with solutions and suggestions and healing medicine, which I appreciate, I appreciate people caring and wanting to help me, but when Dr. Anderson says there’s no magic fix to this, it’s kind of an individual thing — I’ve been dealing with a form of it for quite some time before the tear, if you will, against Indy. I’ve been having some symptoms. It’s been going on for a little bit of time. He did say there’s no immediate, quick or magic fix or can’t guarantee you this — that’s why we’re kind of going one week at a time.”
The boot, which he said he will wear as much as possible, will be removed Friday, and his foot will be re-evaluated.
“[Anderson] said I have an injured foot,” Manning said. “Everybody says, ‘When did he say it’s going to get better?’ [He said], ‘When it heals,’ so some earth-shattering medical information there,” Manning said. ” . . . This has been kind of a test of patience wearing this . . . I’m trying to be patient doing that, and we’ll see how it reacts to the rehab after that.”