EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
KUSA - The Denver Broncos are learning to live without offensive tackle Ryan Clady. He's been replaced in the lineup and now in the captain's seat.
Denver coach John Fox said Thursday receiver Wes Welker has been voted on as a captain on offense to replace Clady, who was put on the injured reserve list Wednesday because he needs season-ending surgery on his left foot.
"We re-voted [Thursday] morning for one of our captains on offense," Fox said, "And Wes is one of the new captains."
Clady was injured late in the fourth quarter of the Broncos' win Sunday at the New York Giants. Fox said the organization has faith in backup Chris Clark, who spent time with the first team in the offseason when Clady was recovering from shoulder surgery and in contract negotiations.
"It's a blow," Fox said. "Chris Clark, we have great confidence in. His teammates have a lot of confidence in him."
Quarterback Peyton Manning, who is another captain, said losing Clady is "disappointing" but knows Clark is ready.
"It's disappointing for our team," Manning said. "Ryan is a great player. I know how hard he worked to get back. He busted his tail. So, I'm disappointed for him. He was a captain, leader and great presence in the locker room."
Manning said having Clark in the offseason workouts and "getting a great deal of repetitions" while Clady was away is huge.
"Chris will do a good job," Manning said of his blindside protection.
Other news of note out of Thursday's practice is the return of Champ Bailey for the first time at practice with the first team since his left foot injury sustained Aug. 17 in a preseason game.
"He was limited," Fox said of Bailey's role Thursday. "It's good to have him back out there. He's been staying on top of it mentally in the meetings. He is a team captain for a reason."
Fox said Bailey could return to playing "maybe as early as this Monday night."
Tight end Joel Dreessen also practiced Thursday coming off his second minor knee surgery.
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