ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos’ right tackle Ja’Wuan James suffered a significant knee sprain early in the game Monday at Oakland and will miss several weeks, a league source told 9NEWS.

Vic Fangio, the team’s head coach, confirmed the 9NEWS report later at his news conference.

“A sprained knee, which could mean a lot of things,’’ Fangio said.

James is on the books for $17 million in cash this season -- $12 million in signing bonus and $5 million in salary – which makes him the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.

He got hurt on the Broncos’ 10th offensive play. Elijah Wilkinson replaced James and is expected to be the Broncos’ right tackle until James returns. Wilkinson started the Broncos final seven games at right guard last year.

“I think he’s been pretty damn good all training camp and preseason games,’’ Fangio said. “Came in the other day and played well. Had a tough first play, got a little late off the ball, but we have total confidence in him.”

Davis returns to practice

For the first time in nearly two months inside linebacker Todd Davis returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. He suffered a partially torn calf muscle during the Broncos’ first training camp practice on July 18.

“It’s just been a grind,’’ Davis said. “I’ve been working back to get back to my team. It’s frustrating not being able to be out there, but we’re working well and feeling good this week. I think the training staff has me on a good regimen and has me ready to go.”

While Davis says he’s ready to play Sunday against the Bears, it may take more than a couple practices after such a long layoff before he’s cleared by the team’s medical and trainer’s staff.

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River returns

The Broncos placed receiver Tim Patrick on injured reserve and brought back do-everything receiver/returner River Cracraft to their 53-man roster.

Cracraft and rookie Juwann Winfree will compete this week for Patrick’s place on the Broncos’ game-day, 46-man roster Sunday against the Bears.

Patrick suffered a broken left hand in the second half of the Broncos’ loss at Oakland on Monday. He will undergo surgery. There is a chance he can be activated from IR after eight weeks. But the same is true of No. 2 quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Jake Butt and running back Theo Riddick.

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Problem is the Broncos can only activate a maximum of two players from their short-term IR list. The other two will stay on IR for the rest of the season.

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