Peyton Manning set to debut

Updated: August 9, 2012, 8:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Peyton Manning will make his return to the field Thursday night for the first time in 19 months when the Denver Broncos visit the Chicago Bears.

A four-time MVP, Manning missed all of last season with a nerve injury in his neck that weakened his throwing arm and led to his departure from the Indianapolis Colts.

Like most starters, Manning is expected to see limited playing time in the preseason opener. He has not appeared in a game since leading the Colts against the New York Jets in January 2011.

"We want to get some short-yardage work, some third-down conversions, we'd love to get some red zone, goal-line," Manning told reporters. "In all four games, if you can get all the situations that we work on out here, that would be ideal.

"So however long we play, whatever Coach (John) Fox wants to do, we're good with. We just need to play well when we're out there. I think we'd like to have some offensive rhythm out there, for however long we're out there. I know the Bears are looking for the same thing defensively. There's always some give and take in the preseason. You want it all to go perfectly and try to get some kind of rhythm, some kind of execution on offense."

Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway told NFL.com that he anticipates it will be a short night for Manning.

"It's gonna come down to how much our first offensive line plays," Elway said. "I asked (Manning) the other day, 'One or two series?' I think you get a feel for it during the game.

"If things go well right off the bat, have a nice scoring drive, then get him out. You wanna get something going to where they have a good drive. You don't want to have three three-and-outs. You wanna get some confidence, get some first downs and maybe put some points on the board. If we do that, get him out, and go to the next week."

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