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Peyton Manning returns to Denver Broncos practice

Interim coach Jack Del Rio confirmed that Peyton Manning will start against the Kansas City Chiefs this week after sitting out Wednesday's practice for just the second time this season.

Manning returned to Denver Broncos practice Thursday, sporting extra tape on his sprained right ankle. Other than that, observers noted that Manning looked like his typical self in the media-access portion of practice.

Even with limited mobility, Manning tossed four touchdown passes in the first 35 minutes of last week's 28-20 win over the San Diego Chargers. He will have a hard time repeating that feat against the NFL's top pass-rushing duo Sunday.

Here are the rest of the injury updates from around the league:

1. Manning wasn't the only quarterback returning Thursday. Terrelle Pryor was back at Oakland Raiders practice after a knee injury kept him sidelined Wednesday. Although he's regressed as a passer and decision maker the past few weeks, Pryor still is a better option than rookie backup Matt McGloin. The two split first-team reps Thursday. Darren McFadden (hamstring) remained out of practice, suggesting that Rashad Jennings will carry the load versus the Houston Texans on Sunday.

2. Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone doesn't sound optimistic about Stevie Johnson's chances of playing through a groin injury Sunday against the New York Jets. "Obviously Stevie has missed two days and I don't feel good about him being able to play," Marrone said, "but I can't officially rule him out yet."

3. Tony Gonzalez (toe) and Harry Douglas (knee) were held out of Atlanta Falcons practice Thursday. Coach Mike Smith is hoping a hobbled Gonzalez can practice Friday. Douglas came down with a knee injury after practicing Wednesday. On a positive note, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot) is practicing fully after being activated from short-term injured reserve early in the week.

4. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (shoulder) handled the first-team reps again Thursday and remains in line to start at Seattle on Sunday.

5. Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is on track to play against the Bills, which will be his first game action since Week 4.

6. New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen is facing a "higher level of competition" in this week's practices as the coaching staff determines his role for Monday night's game at the Carolina Panthers. He's eligible to return to game action this week for the first time since injuring his wrist in the season opener. Expect him to take over Brandon Bolden's role on passing downs.

7. Nate Burleson's return to the Lions' starting lineup will have to wait another week. Even though he's practicing, Detroit does not plan to play him against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

8. New York Giants pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul is unsure if he will play against the Green Bay Packers this week because his injured shoulder isn't feeling any better.

9. Packers cornerback Casey Hayward will be sidelined "multiple weeks" after aggravating his early-season hamstring injury. He's been limited to 88 snaps in three games this season.

10. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson missed practice Thursday due to "maintenance issues", according to the team's official website. Megatron anticipates he'll play Sunday versus the Steelers

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previewed the AFC playoff picture.

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