Maybe, the strained quadriceps simply got the proper rest. Or perhaps, the healing period coincided with a nudge from Peyton Manning.

Either way, Broncos' receiver Emmanuel Sanders was back on the practice field Thursday. He has been in and out of practice and the preseason because of his leg injury.

If all goes well, Sanders will have a chance to get his first preseason reception Saturday night against the Houston Texans in what will be a final tuneup to the regular season for Broncos' starters.

"I know Peyton was happy for me to be out here," said Sanders, who signed a three-year contract with the Broncos in March to replace Eric Decker. "He texted me last night and told me that he would like me to be out here today practicing and catching balls, so it was fun."