It appears the Broncos will come out of their second cart-ride scare in two practice days better than expected.

Starting defensive end Jared Crick was helped off during practice Monday with what appeared to be a serious injury. Instead, the initial diagnosis was back spasms and Crick is expected to miss a week or two.

He did undergo an MRI in hopes of detecting the cause of those spasms.

On Saturday, Derek Wolfe, the Broncos’ starting defensive end opposite Crick, was carted off with what appeared to be a serious lower right leg injury. He wound up with a severely sprained ankle that will also sideline him a week or two.

It hasn’t been easy for the Broncos’ front seven to reach the starting line.

Shaq Barrett, Kyle Peko, Adam Gotsis, Shane Ray, Billy Winn, Todd Davis, T.J. Ward, Wolfe and Crick have all suffered significant injuries, if to various degrees.

Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe (95) during organized training activities at the UCHealth Training Center.

“People better pray more at night,’’ said cornerback Aqib Talib. “That’s the only thing that’s going to help. It’s football. Guys get hurt. It’s weird injuries, too. I pray every night and every morning.”

Defensive lineman Winn, Wolfe and Crick went down in the Broncos’ last three football days.

Winn wasn’t nearly as lucky as Wolfe or Crick. A rotational defensive lineman, Winn is finished for the season after suffering damage to his ACL, MCL and meniscus in a knee during the Broncos’ preseason game last Thursday at Chicago.

Gotsis has already returned from offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. Davis is back after missing the Bears’ preseason game with a shoulder injury. Ward missed the Bears game and has yet to return from a hamstring strain.


Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) kneels in prayer before the AFC Divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Former Broncos quarterback and first-round draft pick Tim Tebow turned 30 Tuesday. He may be an elderly Class A minor-league baseball prospect now.

But he’ll always have 2011.

“Happy birthday, Tim,’’ Mike McCoy, the Broncos’ offensive coordinator now, and back in Tebow’s two seasons of 2010-11, said in an interview with 9News. “You look back on it and what a season. What Tim did in those games, what it did for the NFL with the zone read and everything we ran with him for the first time.’’

Indeed, Tebow was a trendsetter. He started a national social craze of “Tebowing,” during his uncanny six-game winning streak, then a huge playoff game against Pittsburgh through a run-heavy, impact-passing offense.

In the following season of 2012, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick became break-out quarterbacks by running the zone-read offensive system McCoy employed the previous year for Tebow.

“Give the players all the credit for the way they bought into the change we made,’’ McCoy said. “It was a drastic change. Not many teams have played that way in this game. D.T. (Demaryius Thomas), all the receivers bought in to running the football, blocking, explosive plays they made. And with (the 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to) D.T. in the overtime, what a special day that was.’’

Joseph vs. Shanahan II

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches play during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. 

In January, the top two candidates to replace Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak were Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Joseph got the Broncos job. Shanahan finished second here, but then landed the head coaching job with the San Francisco 49ers.

Does that mean Joseph won as his Broncos and Shanahan’s 49ers get ready to practice against each other Wednesday and Thursday, then play a preseason game Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif.?

“Do I feel like I won? I don’t know, he’s got a great job,’’ Joseph said. “I was there for seven years (as a defensive backs coach). They have great ownership. It’s a great place to live and raise a family. So, he’s got a great job. I think we both won. How about that? We both won.”

Bronco Bits

Dontrell Nelson, an undrafted rookie cornerback from Memphis, observed practice for the first time since suffering a concussion during the Broncos’ Saturday scrimmage on Aug. 5. There is a chance he will be cleared from the concussion protocol Tuesday. …

Training camp officially ended following practice Monday. Broncos staffers, players and coaches attended a domestic violence seminar, then exited the premises. The Broncos will practice Tuesday morning, then fly to the Bay Area that afternoon.