Thirty-six hours ago, Kyle Johnson figured he’d spend Thanksgiving like most Americans — hunkering down at a dinner table, enjoying the warmth of food and family.
Then came Wednesday morning, when he saw that the Broncos had left him a message.
“I saw that I had a voicemail from the Denver Broncos, and I (thought), ‘I really thought it was Betsy Klein (the team’s director of player programs) calling about tuition reimbursement.”
“When it was Ted Sundquist,” Johnson said, “I knew there was something going on.”
What was going on was a slew of injuries to the Broncos’ backfield. Fullback Paul Smith hasn’t practiced all week after missing Monday night’s game with a calf injury. Travis Henry and Selvin Young also remained sidelined with knee injuries that continued to keep them out Thursday, leaving the Broncos with only three healthy backs out of a complement of six.
“We have to have some depth at that position,” Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. “We’ve got a few guys playing a lot of positions right now, and it’s a big question of who’s going to be ready. Whoever is ready — at least we’ve got a little more depth.”
For that, the Broncos turned to Johnson, who was surprised at receiving an NFL team’s call so late in the week.
“After Tuesday you think there’s not going to be too much action,” Johnson said. “Then the phone rings.”
And with that, Johnson had returned, taking the spot of guard Isaac Snell, who was waived to make room for the veteran fullback.
OTHER PRACTICE NOTES …
The Broncos moved their work inside to the South Suburban Sports Dome on Thursday. It marked their first session there in the current regular season. Since the Broncos last visited the facility simply dubbed “the bubble” this past summer, a new FieldTurf surface has been installed there … Javon Walker worked fully for a second straight day. “To practice on this turf today was a good sign; it didn’t set him back,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully he’s full go tomorrow, and if he is, then he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.”