Peyton Manning to practice Wed., but Brock Osweiler still starting

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After consulting with the team's medical staff and having discussions with quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will keep Osweiler in the starting lineup this week and Manning will make his return to the practice field Wednesday.

Kubiak, who spoke to Manning and Osweiler on Tuesday before making his decision public, had not previously announced the team's starter for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start. The Broncos are 3-1 in his previous four starts, with the first loss coming this past Sunday, 15-12 to the Oakland Raiders. Osweiler was sacked five times in the game and did not throw a touchdown pass, but he had his first career 300-yard passing game, finishing with 308.

Manning, who suffered a tear in the plantar fascia near his left heel in the Broncos' Nov. 8 loss in Indianapolis, has not participated in a full team practice since Nov. 13, two days before his 5-of-20 passing day with four interceptions in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Manning was removed in the third quarter of that game and has neither practiced nor played since.

Following the loss, Manning spent two weeks with his left foot immobilized, first in a hard cast and then in a walking boot, before restarting his rehab. Last week, Manning added a throwing regimen to his rehab program with three 30-minute sessions with the team's strength and conditioning coaches, one session each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Manning was on the sideline for Sunday's loss to the Raiders with a play sheet in hand and an earpiece so he could listen to the play calls.

Asked Monday for his plan for Manning this week, Kubiak said he wanted to talk to Manning first.

"I've got to see where he's at; we've got to talk through our situation and see where's he at," Kubiak said. "We went through a good week last week, gave him a weekend off, so we'll see where he's at. We'll have a plan in place by the time we get to Wednesday."

Unlike the previous four Mondays, Kubiak did not immediately say Osweiler would be the starter, but when he was asked whether the decision this week with Manning was a return to practice or preparing to play in a game, Kubiak said:

"That's the next step, that he's coming back to practice, and if you're coming back to practice, then you're working toward getting back on the field playing. Let me see where we're at. I know how we ended last week, and I know what I've been doing since 5 o'clock this morning. I haven't talked to anybody; I've been doing a lot of evaluation and those type of things. We'll get started on all those other type of things this afternoon."

Manning's return to the practice field is the biggest sign of progress he has had as he deals with the foot injury. He has been treated for injuries to his right shoulder and ribs this season as well. He has said he had been bothered with plantar fasciitis in his left foot for "some time" this season but that he suffered the tear in the Broncos' loss in Indianapolis.