In many ways, it is as though the Broncos are at the cusp of a new season, since they hold a share of first place in the AFC West after coming from two games below .500 to get back to all square at 5-5.
The same is true for Javon Walker, who not only returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since Oct. 17, but went through a full afternoon of work in his initial session following knee surgery 33 days ago.
“It’s like coming in the first day to start workouts again,” Walker said. “Obviously I’m very excited to come back at a time like this where we’re tied for first.”
Walker expects to play Sunday at Chicago, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan concurred.
“If there’s no setback (then) by the end of the week, he should be ready to go,” Shanahan said.
“If I can come out here and run some good routes against these DBs (defensive backs), I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready to go Sunday against somebody else’s DBs,” Walker added.
But while he feels he’s ready to play, he’s not 100 percent.
“It’s not completely healed,” Walker said. “Everybody knows you’re not going to play an NFL season with something completely healed, but it’s something I can work through. It feels good, and I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to slow me down.”
One player who was slowed Wednesday was fellow wide receiver Glenn Martinez, who sat out the session with an ankle injury.
“He’s still a little sore,” Shanahan said. “He went through walk-throughs, but didn’t feel like he was able to go today, so we’ll see how he is (Thursday).”
Joining Martinez on the sidelines were running backs Travis Henry and Selvin Young — both of whom have knee injuries — and fullback Paul Smith, who missed Monday night’s game with a calf problem.
Meanwhile, seven Chicago Bears did not practice Wednesday: Wide receiver Bernard Berrian (toe), linebacker Lance Briggs (knee), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee), cornerbacks Ricky Manning (illness), Nathan Vasher (groin) and Trumaine McBride (hip) and running back Jason McKie (foot).