Broncos could be without 5 offensive players Sunday
By ARNIE STAPLETON
Oct. 16, 2017
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos were struggling on offense even when they were healthy. Now, they'll have to navigate a spate of injuries to their quarterback, two receivers and two tackles.
Trevor Siemian briefly left the Broncos' 23-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday night after jamming his left (non-throwing) shoulder while trying to make a diving tackle on cornerback Janoris Jenkins' pick-6 just before the half.
"He's tough, mentally and physically," wide receiver Bennie Fowler said. "We know he'll be ready on Sundays."
Siemian's MRI on Monday showed no ill effects from the injury but he'll be without several teammates next week when the Broncos (3-2) visit the Los Angeles Chargers (2-4).
Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie sustained what appeared to be serious right ankle injuries Sunday night, although coach Vance Joseph would only say Monday that they'll miss the next game and will be listed as week-to-week after that.
"Sprains can come in all different levels. But it's a sprain. It's as sprain with both guys. I think Isaiah is a little bit less of a sprain than Emmanuel," Joseph said.
Both Sanders and McKenzie were on crutches and in a walking boot Monday.
"I'm very fortunate that it wasn't more serious," said McKenzie, a speedy rookie from Georgia who is also the Broncos' primary punt returner. "Hopefully I can be back next week or the week after that."
Joseph said he's hopeful receiver/returner Cody Latimer (knee) will return this week.
Also out Sunday is Billy Turner, who underwent surgery on Monday to fix a broken right hand he suffered while playing in relief of starting right tackle Menelik Watson (calf) on Sunday night.
Watson is day to day but if he's unable to go, Joseph is unsure who would replace him against the Chargers.
"All options will be explored," Joseph said, noting that tackle Donald Stephenson is available as is guard Allen Barbre, who "has played right tackle in his career. We have some options there."
The Broncos bumbled their way through a game just about everyone expected them to control . They didn't get into the end zone until their 12th drive when third-year tight end Jeff Heuerman caught his first career TD pass with four minutes remaining.
That ended a streak of 20 drives without a touchdown stretching to Denver's 16-10 win over Oakland two weeks ago.
After putting up 42 points on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2, the Broncos have scored a total of 42 since that Sept. 17 game.
Joseph was stumped trying to decipher what went wrong Sunday night.
The Broncos entered the game with just one notable injury — Latimer's sprained knee — and were facing a Giants team that had lost a veteran cornerback to suspension, three receivers to season-ending surgeries and a half-dozen starters to injuries.
"It was a big game for us, a chance to go 4-1. It's a nationally televised game versus an opponent that struggled," Joseph said. "... It's early. It's a hard league. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy out for us. We have a chance Sunday to play the L.A. Chargers and be 3-0 in our division."
This time, they'll be the ones rallying around their injured teammates and navigating adversity, including a defense that has only produced four takeaways and a kicking game that continues to deflate the sideline.
Brandon McManus missed two more kicks Sunday, giving him five misses for the season. That matches the number he missed all last season.
Joseph said his faith in McManus is unshaken because of his work ethic.
"I've seen the guy make every kick in practice. Obviously, that hasn't translated to the games," Joseph said. "He's a worker and he will work himself out of this in my opinion. He's a talent, too. So, he has to get back to getting in rhythm."
Notes: OLB Shane Ray returns to practice this week for the first time since breaking his right wrist in July. Ray said he's down to 234 pounds and expects to quickly go back to 242 once he returns to football. He's eligible to play on Oct. 30 against Kansas City.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton