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Broncos lose Bolles and Darby to season-ending injuries

Two more starters join the team's growing, and well-paid, injured reserve list.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles is carted off the field after an injury against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER — Even after losing what many longtime football observers are calling one of the worst NFL games in years, it can always get worse.

And it did for the Denver Broncos as MRI exams Monday morning revealed two more starters, left tackle Garett Bolles and cornerback Ronald Darby, would be lost for the season from injuries suffered in Denver's 12-9 overtime loss Thursday night to the Indianapolis Colts at Empower Field at Mile High.

Bolles suffered a broken right leg that will require surgery. He had previously missed just four games in his first five seasons. He suffered the injury with 3:48 remaining in regulation while blocking on a Mike Boone running play. Indianapolis defensive linemen DeForest Buckner was caught up in the scrum and fell on the back of Bolles' legs.

Darby suffered his torn ACL while covering Colts' receiver Parris Campbell near the Broncos' sideline with 1:28 left in the first half.

Credit: AP
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (1) makes a catch as Denver Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby (23) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Calvin Anderson figures to replace Bolles at left tackle although there may be some chance the Broncos move Billy Turner from right tackle to left when he returns from his own injury next week against the Los Angeles Chargers, and keep Cam Fleming at right tackle.

Darby figures to be replaced by rookie Damarri Mathis, although veteran Michael Ojemudia is also expected back from injury next week.

Just five weeks into the 2022 season, the Broncos have now placed four offensive starters on IR -- Bolles, receiver Tim Patrick, tight end Greg Dulcich and running back Javonte Williams -- and three defensive starters -- safety Justin Simmons, outside linebacker Randy Gregory and Darby.

“Injuries are a thing that, as a coach, I can’t control,'' said head coach Nathaniel Hackett at his day-after-game press conference Friday. "I mean, especially the ones that we’re having. It’s not things that guys are going to be able to come back from. They’re long-term things and that’s a part of this game.

"As a coach, I can’t control it, I can only move forward. I can only go to the drawing board, grind and try to find ways to put people in good positions. The new guys that are going to have to go in there, we have to find a way to make those guys successful. That’s our job and it crushes me because they’re such good guys and they’ve worked so hard. We’re 2-3 right now and it’s not where we wanted to be, but that’s where we are. I feel bad for those guys because they can’t be a part of us bringing us out of this, but they are going to be there for us.” 

A look at the Broncos' expected IR list this week and 2022 payouts for players on it:

  • Garett Bolles - $17 million
  • Justin Simmons - $15.1 million
  • Randy Gregory - $14 million
  • Ronald Darby - $9.82 million
  • Tim Patrick - $8.5 million
  • Tom Compton - $2.25 million
  • Greg Dulcich - $1.43 million
  • Javonte Williams - $1.06 million
  • M. Ojemudia -  $1.04 million
  • Christopher Allen - $460,000
  • Damarea Crockett - $455,000
  • Casey Tucker - $430,000
  • Total - $71.545 million

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