Peyton Manning 'lucky' to escape thumb injury vs. Saints

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning counts himself fortunate. Consider his team furious.

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Manning acknowledged he was "probably a little bit lucky" that he banged the right thumbnail and not the knuckle of his throwing hand on New Orleans Saints defensive end Martez Wilson's helmet Sunday night during the Broncos' 34-14 victory.

It's what happened a split-second later that has the Broncos miffed.

The crown of Wilson's helmet smacked into Manning's chin, a play the Broncos are expected to have the league look at this week.

Although no flag was thrown, it was similar to last month's illegal hit that cost Broncos linebacker Joe Mays a $50,000 fine and a one-game suspension for blasting Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

"It'll be something we look at and get the TV copy," Broncos coach John Fox said Monday. "We haven't done all that yet. And I'm not really able to comment on what we turn into the league and what we don't, but that's one we'll look at closely."

In all likelihood, so will the NFL, and the result could be a hefty fine for Wilson, a backup on a team that has been dogged by turmoil all season after the NFL penalized the franchise for running a money-for-hits bounty pool.

Unlike Schaub, who lost a chunk of his left ear when his helmet went flying after Mays' hit, Manning's helmet stayed on after he was sandwiched by Wilson and Saints strong safety Roman Harper on a blitz just as he released a 23-yard pass that Eric Decker caught along the left sideline in the first half of the Broncos' win.

Manning picked himself up off the grass, shaking his thumb. He handed off on the next four snaps before throwing twice, then giving way to Matt Prater, who kicked a short field goal as the first half expired.

Fox gave this update on Manning's thumb Monday: "Oh, it's fine."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press