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Bridgewater expected to play against Steelers but Sutton questionable after injurying ankle in practice Friday

Broncos starting QB was cleared from concussion by independent nuerologist Friday but Sutton injury could be blow.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Teddy Bridgewater was cleared from his concussion by an independent doctor Friday morning, clearing the way for the quarterback to start Sunday at Pittsburgh.

9News was the first to report the news that Bridgewater was cleared from the concussion protocol and would play Sunday barring any setbacks.

“Right now, he’s progressed nicely, and he’s cleared up to this point,'' said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.

Bridgewater was a full participant in practice Friday. He stayed after for an extra 15 minutes of throwing sessions with 14 of his receivers and tight ends for three reasons.

One, he missed practice Wednesday and was limited in practice Thursday so he was playing catch up.

Two, Bridgewater almost always stays after practice for additional work.

And, three, he was preparing to throw to other receivers after No. 1 wideout Courtland Sutton went down with an ankle injury in practice Friday. Sutton was added to the injury report Friday and was listed as questionable.

Bridgewater suffered a concussion on the Denver Broncos' final offensive play of the first half when he was hammered on his chin by the helmet of Ravens' pass rusher Odafe Oweh.

Bridgewater didn't return and backup quarterback Drew Lock finished off the second half. The Broncos suffered their first loss of the season, 23-7, at Empower Field at Mile High. Bridgewater directed the Broncos only touchdown.

Through the first three games, all Broncos wins, Bridgewater was the team's MVP as he completed more than 75 percent of his passes without throwing an interception. Even with a rough first half against the Ravens last week, Bridgewater is the NFL's No. 7-ranked passer with a 110.6 passer rating.

Bridgewater is hardly the first quarterback in recent times to return and play 7 days after a concussion.

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Teddy Bridgewater is hurried by Tyus Bowser during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Denver.

Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the Chiefs’ second-round playoff game against the Cleveland Brown last season, only to be cleared in time to play the following week for the AFC Championship Game against Buffalo. Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a robust 127.6 passer rating in a 38-24 win.

Matthew Stafford was evaluated for a concussion late in a game for the Lions on November 8 last season, but returned a week later to complete 24 of 33 passes for 276 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 127.8 rating and a 30-27 rare Detroit win against Washington.

In a 2019 week 4 game against the Patriots, Bills quarterback Josh Allen took a huge helmet-to-helmet hit and didn’t play another snap because of a concussion. He cleared concussion protocol and played 7 days later, leading the Bills past Tennessee by completing 23 of 32 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

Albert O out, but Glasgow, Risner return

The Broncos ruled out No. 2 tight end Albert Okwuegbunam with a hamstring injury and given the need for roster spots he may be placed on the short-term (three week minimum) injured reserve list Saturday.

While Albert O is down, the Broncos are expected to have their two starting guards, Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow, back this week after sitting out last week's loss against Baltimore because of injuries.

The Broncos had serious protection issues without their guards.

Running back Mike Boone, who was on IR through the first four weeks of the regular season with a quad injury, is expected to be activated onto the 53-man roster Saturday after he finished his second week or practice.

There's also a chance the Broncos activate cornerback Ronald Darby, although he just returned to practice this week. Ordinarily, the Broncos prefer their players practice for two weeks before declaring them ready for game action.

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