The team announced Tuesday that Manning is expected to miss at least the next two weeks after Monday's consultation with foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.
Manning will spend at least the next week in a walking boot. Once he sheds the boot, he will begin rehabilitation for the plantar fascia tear in his foot.
"Peyton and I had a good visit today, and we've got a plan in place for his recovery," coach Gary Kubiak said, via the Broncos' official website. "His foot will be in a cast for at least a week, but he'll be able to be part of meetings and do some workouts with the rest of the team."
Considering the timing and severity of the injury, it's natural to wonder if Manning has played his last down in Denver.
With Brock Osweiler under center at Chicago, the Broncos ran Kubiak's trademark boot-action offense with more efficiency last week, establishing the run, utilizing multiple tight-end sets and avoiding turnovers.
Kubiak's postgame acknowledgement that Osweiler's mobility helped stabilize the ground attack was telling. This is the offense Kubiak wants to run, with a game manager complementing Wade Phillips' dominant defense.
Barring an Osweiler faceplant over the next three weeks, it's hard to imagine a fragile and rusty Manning making a renewed push for the starting job.
An NFL legend deserves a kinder fate. They always do.