A Monday MRI examination brought the news that Matt Lepsis and the Broncos most feared — a torn right anterior cruciate ligament for the veteran left tackle that will end his season and necessitate a six-month rehabilitation.
He will undergo surgery following “about a 10-day recovery,” Shanahan said.
The injury is the first torn knee ligament any Broncos offensive lineman has suffered in a regular season since Tom Nalen saw his 2002 campaign end seven weeks into it with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in a game at Kansas City.
“(Lepsis’) ACL is very similar to what Tommy had in 2002, so hopefully — even though it’s a setback for him — he’ll go through rehab and everything will be ready to go next year,” Shanahan said.
The injury could lead to some shuffling along the offensive line. Erik Pears filled in for Lepsis yesterday; Shanahan said Monday that the Colorado State alumnus did a “good job” in fill-in duties at Cleveland.
However, there are numerous options for the Broncos.
“We could go with Erik, or we could move Cooper (Carlisle) over and move (Chris) Kuper up (to right guard),” Shanahan said. “We could go in a couple of different directions. We haven’t decided exactly what we’re going to do for sure.”
Carlisle has started at guard since replacing Dan Neil late in the 2004 season, but he did see some action at left tackle during back-to-back games against Baltimore and New England three years ago. He also started six games in the University of Florida’s 1996 national-championship season at left tackle, and worked there for four more games the following year.
“He’s played out there, so we feel comfortable with him,” Shanahan said. “He’s played well when he’s played (at left tackle).”