ENGLEWOOD - Paxton Lynch started throwing two weeks ago.
The second-year quarterback took another step towards his return Wednesday when he was out at the Denver Broncos’ walkthrough practice. It was the first time Lynch was spotted wearing a helmet since he injured his right throwing shoulder in a preseason game Aug. 19 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Lynch was only tossing the ball lightly Wednesday so it figures to be a while before he’s game ready. Still, he's at least started practicing.
“What’s his time frame? We’re not sure,'' said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. "It depends on Paxton and it depends on his health. Right now, he’s thrown the last week and a half with a little soreness—not much. Again, this is his first day back. Tomorrow is a real football practice, so we’ll see.”
Lynch suffered his injury in a game in which Trevor Siemian officially won the starting quarterback position. Siemian, his blockers and the Broncos’ offense have fallen into a woeful slump as they get ready to bring their 3-3 record to Kansas City for a Monday night game against the 5-2 Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Brock Osweiler has been serving as Siemian’s backup while Lynch heals.
Among the injured Broncos who did not play Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, outside linebacker Shane Ray and returner-receiver Isaiah McKenzie will return in time to play against the Chiefs.
Ray has missed the first seven games following surgery on his left wrist but the Broncos have long targeted his return for the Chiefs’ game. Joseph said Ray would start. Ray has been wearing a cast around his wrist that keeps his fingers free.
“Shane provides opposite of Von [Miller) another great rusher,'' Joseph said. "They can’t tee off on Von and they can’t chip both guys. They can chip both guys, but it forces them to run three-man routes. We like that. Having Shane back, obviously a great player and a guy that plays with great energy. That’s going to help our defense.”
McKenzie missed a week because of a sprained ankle. Both players returned to practice Wednesday, as did receiver and special teams standout Cody Latimer, who said he would also play against the Chiefs.
The status of receiver Emmanuel Sanders seems to be leaning on the side he needs one more week. Sanders said he ran Wednesday for the first time since suffering his ankle sprain October 15 against the New York Giants, but did so with a limp.
It does appear right tackle Menelik Watson will return from his calf injury this week and play Monday. Right tackle Donald Stephenson was working out his injured calf with a trainer/coach on the side during practice Wednesday and is not expected to play this week.
Meanwhile, it appears the Broncos have pumped the brakes on Jake Butt’s possible return. The fifth-round rookie tight end practiced last week for the first time since suffering an ACL tear in his right knee during Michigan’s Orange Bowl game last December 30.
However, Butt experienced some soreness – which is not uncommon – upon his return last week and the Broncos appear to be holding him back. Butt attended the team’s walkthrough Wednesday wearing a compression sleeve around his right knee and no helmet.
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