While the beginning of the season saw the Denver Broncos lose many key players, for the second week in a row, the team is getting healthier.
Cornerback Champ Bailey and defensive tackle Marcus Thomas returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. It marks the second straight Wednesday the Broncos got a significant boost in their practice participants as linebacker D.J. Williams, defensive end Elvis Dumervil, running back Knowshon Moreno and receiver Brandon Lloyd all practiced last Wednesday after missing at least the previous game.
Bailey hasn’t practiced since injuring his hamstring in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders, and Thomas hasn’t practiced since suffering an injury in mid-August.
“You feel a little more comfortable in the fight when you have all your troops with you,” Head Coach John Fox said. “They were a welcome addition for sure.”
While their playing status is unknown, it’s a positive sign as the Broncos head to Green Bay this week to take on the defending Super Bowl Champs — the 3-0 Packers.
“We will need to be at full throttle against this team, so it’s a good thing to have guys coming off an injury, including myself,” Dumervil said. “Nobody wants to be hurt, so it feels good to come out and practice to try to get better and help the team.”
Thomas has had to wait more than a month to return to practice since his injury in training camp. The Broncos will be looking for him to contribute on the defensive line as soon as he’s ready to go.
“It’s a little like injuries, everybody is different,” Fox said. “Some people come back faster than others, so we’ll be day-to-day on Marcus just like we are on all those guys that haven’t been with us (for) a while.”
Williams was another one of those players who hadn’t been with the team for some time. He injured his elbow in the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks and sat out practice until last week. However, even after practicing all week, Fox decided to hold him back on gameday.
“We suited him up, put him through pregame (at Tennessee),” Fox said. “He went on the trip, but again that’s part of the problem. To play in an NFL game all that preparation stuff is important moving forward as well as the conditioning on gameday, and we’ll continue with that this week.”
But the players recognize that even if they don’t get back to game action right away, there’s benefit to returning to practice as soon as possible.
“That’s always good getting a healthy group back together,” defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson said. “Just gelling back together and playing ball like we know how to play ball. Those guys have been missing, now those guys are back. We need to add to it and let’s go head on and finish the game off and do what we need to do to get the ‘W.’”
Here is the full injury report from Denver and Green Bay for Wednesday.
For Denver: receiver Eddie Royal (groin), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) and receiver Demaryius Thomas (finger) did not participate. Dumervil (shoulder), Marcus Thomas (groin) and Bailey (hamstring) were limited. Moreno (hamstring) and Williams (elbow) participated in full.
For Green Bay: safety Nick Collins (neck), defensive end Mike Neal (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (shoulder) are out for this week’s game. Tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), running back Ryan Grant (kidney), linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), cornerback Pat Lee (back), linebacker Clay Matthews (quadricep) and cornerback Charles Woodson (foot/knee) did not practice. Tackle Chad Clifton (knee), tight end Jermichael Finley (ankle), defensive end Ryan Pickett (foot) and cornerback Tramon Williams (shoulder) were limited. Linebacker Vic So’oto (back) participated in full.
Here are some pictures from Wednesday’s Practice.