UPDATED 1:54 P.M. MDT
A player wearing jersey No. 56, momentarily motionless on the field before regaining feeling and motion throughout his body. For safety John Lynch and others who were in uniform and on the sidelines last Dec. 3, the sight of Warrick Holdman prone and receiving medical attention provided a harrowing flashback to when Holdman’s predecessor in the 56 jersey was in the same position.
“I thought about that as he was down,” Lynch said. “Thank God Al was all right, and let’s just say our prayers that Warrick’s fine … There’s nothing worse than seeing one of your teammates down. It brings back memories of our buddy Al last year, and it’s the worst thing in football in my mind.”
UPDATE: The injury was officially a spinal cord concussion, and Holdman will remain overnight at Sky Ridge Medical Center in nearby Lone Tree, Colo. for observation.
Holdman was injured on a play early in the team segment of the practice after appearing to collide with running back Mike Bell near the east sideline. He lay on the grass and was eventually able to move his arms and legs, but was nevertheless immobilized, as is standard operating procedure for spinal-cord trauma.
Like Wilson eight months earlier, Holdman left the field on a motorized cart. He was subsequently transferred into a waiting ambulance.
“He went numb for about 30 or 40 seconds out there and he got his feeling back — which is a good sign,” Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. “I don’t know for sure, but normally when somebody gets that feeling back, it’s usually positive.”
The Broncos couldn’t finish without another injury, however, as Demetrin Veal was poked in the eye during the “move-the-ball” segment in the final moments of practice.
“He got a good shot to the eye,” Shanahan said. “He should be all right, but it was quite painful. He got it pretty square (in the eye).”
Although they were quite shaken, the Broncos managed to eventually regain their composure and continue the last 25 minutes of practice after Holdman’s injury. The energy and mood on the field and among the fans, however, had clearly dissipated.
“It’s tough, but I think that’s something that you’ve got to be able to do as a football player — getting your focus back,” Lynch said. “That dampened the mood a little bit, but you’ve got to finish.”