ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An MRI exam brought the worst-case scenario for the Broncos as the team learned Monday morning speedy receiver K.J. Hamler suffered a torn ACL in his left knee that will require season-ending surgery.
“It hurts because out of all of us, he was a different one,'' said Broncos receiver Tim Patrick, who had five catches for 98 yards Sunday in a 26-0 win against the Jets. "He had God-given speed, so it’s definitely tough.”
To replace Hamler, Broncos general manager George Paton signed David Moore, a veteran slot receiver, from the Las Vegas Raiders' practice squad, a league source confirmed to 9News. Moore is a former 7th-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, where he had 35 catches for 417 yards and 6 touchdowns last year.
Moore was a free agent in March and signed a two-year contract that included a $1.25 million signing bonus with Carolina but was surprisingly among the Panthers final cuts on Sept. 1. Moore became expendable when second-round rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. quickly proved he was NFL ready.
Moore then caught on with the Raiders' practice squad for three weeks before Paton snatched him away.
The Broncos’ receiver corps has taken a major hit to their sudden quickness/speed department as Jerry Jeudy, the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 draft, is likely out another 3-5 weeks with a high ankle sprain and Hamler, the second-round pick in the 2020 draft, is finished for the season.
“We’ll miss (his speed and deep-ball threat),’’ Broncos’ head coach Vic Fangio said of Hamler. “KJ’s a hard guy to cover. The key third-down conversion we made with him (for 22 yards in the first quarter), they were in man coverage and the guy was nowhere near him. He’s hard to cover, so we’ll miss him.”
Hamler suffered the injury with 3:38 left in the first half while going up for a contested catch with Jets cornerback Brandin Echols on a deep out pattern thrown by Broncos’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The ball fell incomplete and Hamler went down clutching his left knee in pain. He had to be helped off the field.
The Broncos’ medical team initially carried cautious optimism the injury might not have been as bad as it looked, but also deferring to the MRI that would tell all. And on Monday the imaging test brought the worst possible news. Fangio said there was other damage besides the ACL in the left knee.
It's the second time Hamler tore his left ACL. The first time was during his senior year at IMG Academy high school in Bradenton, Fla.
The Broncos have receivers Diontae Spencer and Kendall Hinton as possible replacements to Hamler, but Moore is a more accomplished receiver.
Meanwhile, left guard Dalton Risner will be day to day with a foot injury while there is a good chance right guard Graham Glasgow will be week to week with a left knee injury.
The 3-0 Broncos next play the perennial playoff-contending Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson on Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High.
The Broncos are expected to be down six starters against the Ravens because of injuries — Jeudy, Hamler, Glasgow, cornerback Ronald Darby, inside linebacker Josey Jewell and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb — and depending on Risner's status the team may be down seven starters.
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