NFL: Manning mum on thumb

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning thumbed his way through questions about his injured throwing hand Wednesday.

“I attended the Bill Belichick school of discussing injuries, so there’s my answer,” Manning said, drawing laughter.

Belichick, New England’s coach, is known for keeping the status of injured players secret, and Manning took advantage of a rare opportunity to do his own impersonation of the three-time Super Bowl winner by giving no update on his right thumb.

Manning, a two-time MVP, kept both hands in his pockets as he walked into a news conference three days after hurting it the AFC championship game, and when he gestured at the lectern, Manning carefully used his left hand.

The injury is a rare nick for the league’s best-known ironman outside of Green Bay.

In nine pro seasons, Manning has started all 156 career games including playoffs, a streak that ranks second among NFL quarterbacks behind only Brett Favre of the Packers.

But with two weeks between his last victory and a Super Bowl date against the Chicago Bears, Manning’s right thumb has suddenly become big news. He was injured against New England when he hit his hand on the helmet of Pro Bowl left tackle Tarik Glenn.

Coach Tony Dungy said the thumb was discolored and sore, and that Manning needed X-rays. Manning was expected to start against Chicago in the Feb. 4 Super Bowl.

That’s still the plan.

“He’s fine,” Dungy said. “I didn’t even know about it until the next day. He threw on the sideline and he was OK. He looked OK in the game.”