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Gordon ruled out; Javonte to start while Crockett promoted to active roster

The Broncos' top rusher has a hip injury suffered on his first carry of the game last week.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s not so much Melvin Gordon III, the Broncos’ leading rusher, has been officially ruled out from the game here Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs because of a painful hip injury.

At least as noteworthy is how Gordon was able to return from his first-carry injury last Sunday and add 16 more carries for 71 more yards in the Broncos’ win against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Gordon didn’t travel with the team here Saturday afternoon so he was officially downgraded from doubtful to out. Rookie star running back Javonte Williams will get his first NFL start and Mike Boone will get his first chance as a backup. The Broncos also promoted running back Damarea Crockett from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and made roster room by waiving second-year receiver/returner Tyrie Cleveland.

Gordon leads the Broncos with 605 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns off 135 carries. He also has 22 catches for 166 yards and two more touchdowns. Williams is next with 568 yards rushing and two touchdowns off 117 carries. He also has 27 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown, so there’s not much drop-off from the rookie to the veteran Gordon. 

Boone, however, has battled injuries since signing with the Broncos as a free agent this spring and has yet to prove himself. His next carry will be his first of the season – and he figures to get a carry or five against the Chiefs. Crockett was a preseason workhorse who has filled in as an emergency No. 3 back in eight games this season. It’s possible Crockett would get a chance to serve as the No. 2 tailback Sunday.

Gordon landed on his hip after gaining 12 yards on his first carry, second play of the game, last week against the Chargers. He went to the medical tent and returned in the next series and finished the game – again with a hip injury that forced him to miss the entire week of practice. It was determined he had no chance of playing Sunday so he was left behind from the team’s trip here so he could continue his treatment and rehab. The Broncos return home next week to play the 0-10-1 Lions.

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