After a three game absence, it looks like the Broncos Pro Bowl cornerback is set to make his return.
Champ Bailey has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. His progress has been steady and deliberate as he made the trips to both Tennessee and Green Bay over the last two weeks, but did not play in the contests.
However, he participated fully in practice Wednesday for the first time since he injured his hamstring in the Week 1 game against the Oakland Raiders, and Head Coach John Fox sounded optimistic that Bailey will be on the field when the Broncos take on the Chargers in a divisional matchup this week at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“Anytime you’ve got a 10-time Pro Bowler that’s on the shelf or not on the buffet, it’s good to have him back,” Fox said. “To have (him) back in the lineup obviously makes the coach smile a little bit. He’ll definitely help us in the pass defense area.”
While the team has embraced Fox’s “next-man up” mentality, the players are happy to see the return of a teammate that can anchor the defense.
“You can’t really explain it,” defensive lineman Robert Ayers said. “He’s a great player, a great leader — he leads by example. He’s one of those guys that makes very few mistakes. He’s a great guy to have out there. It means a lot to us, and having everybody back means a lot.”
Here is Denver’s injury report for Wednesday’s practice.
Demaryius Thomas (finger), Julius Thomas (ankle), Eddie Royal (groin), Jonathan Wilhite (illness), Daniel Fells (knee) and Brian Dawkins (ankle) did not practice. Champ Bailey (hamstring), Marcus Thomas (groin) and Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) participated fully in practice.
For San Diego: Luis Castillo (tibia), Jacques Cesaire (knee), Antonio Gates (foot), Nick Hardwick (neck) and Vincent Jackson (hamstring) did not practice. Quentin Jammer (hamstring) participated in full.
Below are some pictures from Wednesday’s practice.