ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL among other knee damage that will require surgery to repair and end his season, a source told 9NEWS.
Williams, the Broncos' leading rusher with 204 yards on 47 carries, was helped off the field following a carry on the first play of the second half in the Broncos' 32-23 loss Sunday to the Oakland Raiders. Williams received a toss left from quarterback Russell Wilson before he was chased down from the backside by Raiders' defensive end Maxx Crosby for a 1-yard loss.
Williams tried to hobble off the field, but went down, then was aided off the field by two trainers as he was unable to put weight on his right knee.
The Broncos are expected to start either Mike Boone or Melvin Gordon the rest of the season.
"If the team calls on me, I'll be prepared,'' Boone said.
Gordon has hurt the Broncos with fumbles as he's fumbled four times in four games this season. His fumble off his first carry of the game in the second quarter was returned 68 yards for a touchdown.
To his credit, Gordon took accountability for his fumbling issues by meeting with the media after the game Sunday and offering no excuses, although he got emotional and cut the press conference short.
"Melvin's a true pro,'' said Broncos' head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday. "I mean this is a guy who has been doing this for a long time. He's harder on himself than anybody. He's part of our team. We love the guy. He knows there was a mishap right there. And it's a great opportunity for him to get back out there and prove himself and we're excited to be part of that and put him in great position to be able to make plays and we'll watch him do some good things.
"I mean he had our first touchdown two weeks ago. I thought he ran really hard. I mean he's running the ball really well. He's going downhill, he's exploding through the hole and we want to see that continue. Like I said he's a true pro and I expect for him to step up and have a great game."
The Broncos could also call up running back Devine Ozigbo from their practice squad.
Williams is a bruising-style back who was the Broncos' second-round draft choice out of North Carolina last year. He played the 1B role and rushed for 903 yards off 203 carries, plus had 43 catches for 316 yards and a combined 7 touchdowns.
Ozigbo is a fourth-year player who had 9 carries for 27 yards with Jacksonville as a rookie in 2019 and 9 catches for 42 yards in 2020.
"I'm preparing like I'm playing every week,'' Ozigbo said. "That's never going to change."
Ozigbo may get more reps as the scout team running game than Boone got as the No. 3 running back.
"When it comes to actual reps I get a lot,'' Ozigbo said. "Most of them come against our defense, I try to go as hard as I can to give them as good a look as possible. And then I make sure I stay mentally sharp with our own stuff."
Boone had three carries for 20 yards after he replaced Williams in the second half. He lasted started an NFL game in 2019 for Minnesota but he also dropped what would have been a first-down pass and had another bounce off his outstretched hand on the final 2-minute possession.
"Those were good balls by Russ but it was the traditional run before I tucked it away, took my eyes off it, trying to make a play and it cost me,'' Boone said. "No excuse. When they call my number I have to do the job. I took my eye off it, I dropped it, I have to make sure it doesn't happen again."
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