ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Toughness is not the issue.
Courtland Sutton has proven to be a physically, tough player the past two seasons for the Broncos. The issue is, do the Broncos want their No. 1 receiver playing at, say, 60% health in the season opener knowing that doing so may mean playing at 60 to 70% the rest of the season?
Or do they let his freshly-sprained AC joint in his right shoulder take a few days or a week to heal so he can play at, say, 80-95% (no football player plays at 100%) for the other 15 games?
Officially, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said Sutton is “day to day” with his right shoulder injury and may practice on a limited basis Saturday. If Sutton does make an appearance at practice Saturday, he could be listed as “questionable” on the team’s final injury report for the game Monday night.
But with Sutton suffering the injury early in practice Thursday and the game merely four days from then, medical science has a chance to prevail over the typical football mentality.
Somewhere near the top of Plan B would figure to include snaps and targets for receiver Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos’ first-round draft pick.
“With regard to Jerry Jeudy, he was going to be part of the plan, anyway,’’ said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “Let’s say Courtland doesn’t make it for whatever reason, the whole group has to share the load. That’s the way it’s always been and always will be. These kinds of things are part of our game, so they have to be ready to go. We’re preparing him to play anyway, so he may just have to take a few more snaps. Other guys will fill in as well.’’
One other player who may get a snap or five is second-round rookie receiver KJ Hamler who returned to practice on a limited basis this week. Hamler has been running and cutting at full speed this week after missing virtually all of training camp with a strained hamstring.
Hamler is also a possibility to return a punt or kickoff along with No. 1 returner Diontae Spencer.
“No. 1, right now, KJ’s back, so we’ve got two guys really working hard at that position,’’ said special teams coordinator Tom McMahon.
Star pass-rushing linebacker Von Miller underwent surgery Friday morning to repair the dislocated tendon in his ankle. Dr. Joshua Metzl of the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Denver performed the operation. Fangio said the surgery went well and it must have because Miller was back resting at his Denver-area home by 11 a.m. Friday.
The Broncos currently have just three outside linebackers on their active roster in Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu. If they want a fourth for the game Monday against Tennessee, new rules would allow them to call up seventh-round rookie Derrek Tuszka from their practice squad to the active roster, and then send him back to the practice squad on Tuesday without subject to waivers.
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