ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Two years ago, Peyton Manning's high ankle sprain forced him to miss mid-week practices on a regular basis for the first time in his career.

He made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

This season he'll be skipping Wednesday workouts as sort of preventative maintenance, the way you'd take a `76 Corvette in for some of those high-mileage oil changes to keep that engine humming.

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''Yeah, I think it will be good,'' Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. ''He basically takes 80 percent of the reps on a Thursday and 100 percent of them on a Friday. He gets plenty of reps.''

And it's not like he isn't doing anything on his days off, either.

''The thing about him, he's so disciplined, even on Wednesday when we do that to him he's very much involved with practice and making all the calls,'' Kubiak said.

Kubiak did the same thing with John Elway when he was his offensive coordinator during the Broncos' Super Bowl championship runs of the late 1990s.

''Heck, I remember we had times we told John you don't need to come to this meeting or that meeting. He'd be, `I'm coming.' That's just the way they are,'' Kubiak said. ''I just think ... you want to do everything you can so that they've got everything in the tank 16 times.''

Kubiak also limited Manning's workload this summer so that he'd be fresh down the stretch and to get Brock Osweiler, his longtime backup, significant snaps in the new offense.

Manning is a notorious workaholic who doesn't like taking any plays, much less any days, off. At 39, though, he realizes he has to approach things differently than he did when he was younger.

Manning brushed off a question about his off day this week, saying, ''We've kind of covered that, I guess. I don't have a whole lot for you. I'm out there and doing everything that I can, the walk-throughs and the blitzes. I feel like I was into it and trying to take advantage of it.''

Manning is off to a rough start, ranking near the bottom of the league in passer rating and getting sacked seven times so far. That puts him on pace for 56 sacks - his career high is just 29 and his average is only 17.

The league's only five-time MVP is as clutch as he's ever been, however.

He led the Broncos on an 11-minute fourth-quarter drive that helped beat Baltimore in the opener, and he led Denver on a game-tying touchdown drive in the final minute at Kansas City last week. When he retreated to the sideline, cornerback Bradley Roby's scoop-6 of Jamaal Charles' fumble gave Denver a stunning 31-24 win over the Chiefs.

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton