The drama at Dove Valley continues to build, as the situation involving Peyton Manning gets weirder and weirder with each passing minute. Two interesting tidbits from recent press conferences have provided plenty to chew on as the Broncos prepare for their first game without Manning behind center since losing in the 2011 Divisional Playoffs at New England.

Yesterday, Gary Kubiak revealed that No. 18 isn’t attending meetings this week. Instead, the injured quarterback is spending all of his time with Steve Antonopulos getting treatment for his various ailments, which include plantar fasciitis and sore ribs.

At first blush, this doesn’t seem odd; after all, it makes sense that an injured player would want to do everything he could in order to get healthy in a timely fashion. But considering the other news about Manning’s injuries that’s come out this week, there are a lot of ways in which this doesn’t add up.

In the same presser, the Broncos head coach also revealed that an MRI on Manning’s ribs showed no damage. Thus, that injury doesn’t seem to be the type that would require non-stop treatment. And given that the No. 1 method for improving Manning’s sore foot is rest, followed closely by the application of ice, sitting in a meeting room seems like the perfect place to accomplish both tasks.

Instead, a player who is widely regarded as one of the best offensive minds to ever play his position, a guy who had been dubbed a “coach on the field,” isn’t in the room; he’s not on hand to provide his understudy, Brock Osweiler, with tips, information and assistance. That seems downright strange, given that Manning surely has something of value to add in these types of situations; and any help Osweiler can get heading into his first career start would seem welcome.

So why isn’t Manning on hand for meetings? There are three potential explanations:

1. Manning really is receiving treatment during these times

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the correct one, so it makes sense to start here.

Of course, as mentioned above, the injuries don’t seem to warrant around-the-clock, non-stop care. Plus, this goes against the normal course of action; typically, injured players get treatment during practice, as that’s a time they are unable to participate.

According to former players, this is really rare; going to meetings is typically a required activity. That means there’s only a slight chance that this is the real reason why Manning is nowhere to be found.

2. Manning doesn’t want to be there

This is a little bit of the “take my ball and go home” theory, but it certainly makes some sense. After all, Manning doesn’t stand to benefit from Osweiler playing well at Chicago.

If the youngster looks good, and Denver’s struggling offense starts clicking, the chances of the 18-year veteran getting back on the field diminish greatly. And while a loss would certainly hurt in the standings, the Broncos are fairly entrenched atop the AFC West at the moment; they can afford a stumble or two.

Thus, there’s no reason for Manning to willingly help his potential replacement.

3. The Broncos have moved on

As has been speculated in multiple corners this week, the Broncos didn’t want Manning back this season. So now that they’ve finally found their opportunity to go with Osweiler, the quarterback they wanted all along in 2015, they’re ready to turn the page completely on the Manning era.

The 18-year veteran may hope to come back and play this season, but that’s only happening if Osweiler struggles. And until that time, the Broncos are going to create an environment where the future Hall of Famer’s shadow isn’t looming over their young QB.

Travel complications

All of this dovetails into the news that broke at today’s press conference, as Kubiak explained that Manning’s travel plans for this weekend are still up in the air; the head coach said he’d talk to the team’s training staff to determine if the quarterback, as well as injured linebacker Demarcus Ware, would be on the sidelines in Chicago.

This is odd for a couple of reasons:

1. Ware traveled to Cleveland when injured

Just a week after leaving the field in Oakland with a back injury, the veteran pass rusher was on the sidelines when the Broncos traveled to take on the Browns. In fact, he gave the team’s postgame victory speech, talking about all of the room for improvement that he was able to spot while spending the game as an observer. Now that he has the same injury, it seems strange that he might not go to Chicago and fill the same role.

2. Osweiler already said Manning wasn’t going to Chicago

When asked on Wednesday if he’s received any advice from the veteran so far this week, the Broncos new starter said that he hadn’t yet talked to Manning about the game. But he mentioned that he’d definitely pick No. 18’s brain before getting on the plane and heading to the Windy City. This suggest that he knows any conversations with Manning will have to occur before the team leaves Denver, as Manning won’t be on the trip.

What does it all mean?

That’s anyone’s guess at this point. But the fact that Manning isn’t participating in meetings this week, nor is he apparently traveling with the team on their trip to Chicago, it seems as though the quarterback is being distanced from the team.

That begs one simple question: Why?

The optimists will suggest that it’s so the quarterback can devote all of his time and attention toward getting healthy; he’s not going to learn any more by being in a meeting room or on the sideline, so it’s better to spend every possible moment in the treatment room.

The pessimists will argue that it’s because the team doesn’t think Manning’s presence would be beneficial. Because he doesn’t believe he should be sitting, something that Kubiak confirmed on Monday when talking about his conversation with the quarterback that morning, the veteran would be divisive at best and subversive at worst.

Which is the reality? Well, consider these two visuals from the 2015 NFL season:

When out with a knee injury, Ben Roethlisberger served as the Steelers quasi-OC when Pittsburgh traveled to San Diego. In fact, he drew up the big play that helped Mike Vick beat the Chargers.

While sidelined with a broken clavicle, Tony Romo has been a constant presence on the Cowboys sidelines, trying to remain a positive influence with his “Fight” t-shirts and by constantly providing guidance to Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel.

Those injuries seem like they’d require treatment. Yet those two quarterbacks were able to travel with their respective teams and provide some on-the-sideline assistance.

So why isn’t Peyton Manning doing the same thing? Hmmm.