KUSA—Frighteningly thin at their receiver position for their game Sunday, the Denver Broncos cleared some roster room Tuesday by releasing veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin and placing offensive lineman Billy Turner on injured reserve.
Rubin, 31, is a 10-year NFL veteran who played sparingly in the Broncos past two games. His release could mean defensive lineman Zach Kerr is nearly full recovered from a knee injury that has forced him to miss all but one game this season.
Give Turner a mulligan on the sack he allowed to New York Giants’ star pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul at the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter Sunday night. Turner had Pierre-Paul blocked until the right tackle suffered a dislocated fourth finger on his right hand.
Turner pulled his finger back into place and finished the game, blocking for 14 more plays.
An X-ray after the game revealed the dislocated finger involved a break into his hand. The break was so bad he went to Vail where Dr. Randy Viola surgically repaired the injury Monday.
Turner’s recovery time is six to eight weeks. While it’s not likely he will return this season, the Broncos haven’t completely ruled it out.
Turner, who turned 26 on Tuesday, has been with the Broncos for a full calendar year as he was claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 17, 2016 – his 25th birthday. He played in just three games for the Broncos last year, and was active Sunday night for the first time in 2017.
After filling in for the injured Menelik Watson at right tackle late in the first half, Turner suffered his own injury in the fourth quarter
With Watson gimpy, the Broncos are expected to get Donald Stephenson ready to play right tackle Sunday against the Chargers. If Watson can’t play and the Broncos don’t pick up an offensive tackle this week, their swing tackle is expected to be Allen Barbre, who has been splitting time at left guard with Max Garcia.
The two roster moves clear space for the Broncos to add one, if not two receivers. Injuries to Emmanuel Sanders (right ankle), Isaiah McKenzie (right ankle) and Cody Latimer (right knee), leave the Broncos with just three healthy receivers: Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler III and Jordan Taylor. And Thomas was hobbling Monday after suffering a lower leg bruise Sunday night against the Giants.
The Broncos have one receiver in-house as Hunter Sharp, who had six catches for 92 yards with a touchdown in three preseason games, is on their practice squad.
Among the free-agent receivers recently waived are Deonte Thompson and Corey “Philly” Brown. (Note: Thompson signed Tuesday with Buffalo). The Broncos are not expected to try and sign Kalif Raymond off the Giants’ practice squad. Raymond played with the Broncos last season and was with them through the offseason, training camp and preseason.