For all but one Bronco on the 53-man roster, the team’s practice late Monday afternoon was a chance to get back to work. For Champ Bailey, however, the wait-out for his left quadriceps injury continues.
“I’m not where I want to be,” Bailey said after sitting out Monday’s session. “But with a couple of more sessions of treatment and working out, I’ll be well by Sunday.”
Even though his injury is the dreaded muscle strain, Bailey nevertheless seemed fairly confident that his recovery would not be protracted.
“When you strain a muscle, you’re always kind of concerned about it because you don’t know how it’s going to heal, but right now I feel pretty good and my progress has been good,” he said.
Bailey’s sights are set on practicing Wednesday, when the Broncos’ preparation for the Pittsburgh Steelers accelerates into fifth gear after the requisite Tuesday off-day.
“I’m always pushing for Wednesday. I was actually pushing for today, but that didn’t happen,” Bailey said.
Promising news came in the form of wide receiver Javon Walker’s participation in the 90-minute session.
“He got some reps in,” Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. “Hopefully there’s no setback and he’s ready to practice on Wednesday. He did some good things today.”
Walker believes he will be able to play on Sunday, but after remaining in Colorado for the bye weekend to work on the inflamed knee, he has reconciled himself to the fact that it will remain problematic for the weeks and months to follow.
“It’s just an injury where it (takes) time and you don’t really get time (to rehabilitate) until the season’s overwith, so I’ve got to stay on top of it during the week,” he said.
“I’m ready to go … It’s getting there. It’s football, so it’s never going to be 100 percent, but I can get it monitored during the week of practice.”
The urgency of the Broncos’ situation — a three-game losing streak, opponents that are a combined 9-2 looming in the next two weeks — helped spur Walker’s decision to play through the pain.
“It’s a time where we need everybody out there. Pittsburgh is a good team, and we want to at least try to go in with a full arsenal of players,” Walker said.
Besides injuries, there was one other primary topic of conversation … the Colorado Rockies and their amazing run, now at 20-1 as they stand at the cusp of a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series.
A few thoughts:
John Lynch: “Ever since I’ve been here, this is a Broncos town, but I think it’s great. I think there’s enough love to go around for anyone. They’ve certainly earned the right to have this town and this state right now. It’s special and I think it’s inspirational for everyone, and I think we can look at that. … Most of all, we’re just pulling for those guys.”
Bailey: “I’ve got to get some tickets. I’m definitely on the bandwagon. I hope they win it.”
Walker: “I probably will watch it. I haven’t been keeping up with it just because I’ve been focused on what I’ve got to do, but the closer and closer they get, this is where it becomes exciting. So I will watch the game tonight and see if they can clinch it.”
Shanahan, who referred to the Rockies as “we” on one occasion during his post-practice question-and-answer session, said he couldn’t quite compare the hoopla over the Rockies’ run to the one that accompanied his team’s deep postseason forays in 1997, 1998 and 2005 because he was locked in on the task at hand.
“I think it’s probably more exciting looking from the outside in than the inside out, because you can see guys taking it game by game and really focusing on the job at hand and not getting caught up in the hoopla, but concentrating on the job,” Shanahan said. “It’s been fun to watch.”
And, of course, our little blog will be there tonight. I missed last night’s game while en route to Denver International Airport, and happened to be rolling past Coors Field on Interstate 25 when Yorvit Torrealba launched his sixth-inning rocket into the left-field seats. “That’s all they’ll need,” I told my mother as she called seconds after the ball landed in the bleachered delirium, and blessedly for the Rockies, that turned out to be the case.
So onward to Coors Field, to grapple with the crowds, to keep score, to guzzle some hot chocolate and to ensure myself a lengthy night with little sleep. As my longtime friend Sam Wolfson — who is attending tonight’s game with me — said, “That’s what Mountain Dew is for.” Amen.
We’ll return you to your regularly-scheduled Broncos blog programming later. Until the next entry — and what is sure to be an intriguing and pithy question-and-answer post coming tomorrow — vaya con Dios.