Broncos injury update: KJ Hamler ruled out as team plays the long game with him
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Why will KJ Hamler not play Sunday?
“Part of the maintenance,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said Friday afternoon when he announced that Hamler would not play against Houston on Sunday. “We want to be sure we get him into as many games as we possibly can.”
And that doesn’t include Sunday’s duel with the Texans, who lumber into Denver with just 8 wins and a tie in their last 34 games.
Hackett said that Hamler did not have a setback when he played Monday night. But Hamler did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Friday, he worked on the north field at UCHealth Training Center, getting rehab reps with the players currently on injured reserve.
Hamler played the entire first half in the Broncos’ third preseason game against Minnesota, then played 40 offensive snaps Monday night. He spent the previous 11 months recovering from a torn ACL and a dislocated hip, suffered last year in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
The third-year receiver said last week that for this year, he has to do extra work before each practice to be ready to go.
“I’m still dealing with aches and pains here and there, but that’s all part of the process in coming back off of injury,” Hamler said in Week 1.
“It’s not the easiest (thing). Just gotta find ways to fight through it. You’ve gotta prepare right. Every day before practice, do your routine and prep right. Drink, hydrate, eat — just do all the little things to stay healthy and be on the field.”
All of that is because of the combination of his injuries.
“It was just such a unique deal, what happened to him. He’s been doing some great things,” Hackett said. “He’s been getting some great reps. He did good last game. We just want to be sure we’ve got him for the whole season.”
With Hamler out, Montrell Washington and Jalen Virgil could both see increased offensive reps when the Broncos need the vertical-speed threat Hamler provides.
“Whoever’s going to be in that situation, we want to see that juice,” Hackett said. “Anytime you have someone that can take off the top, it’s going to very much help the whole offense, from the run game to the pass game to everything.”
Also of note:
- Edge rusher Randy Gregory saw limited work Friday and is officially listed as questionable. However, it would be a surprise if he did not play.
- CB K’Waun Williams had full participation Friday after seeing limited work the previous two days. The team listed Williams as questionable for Sunday, but he is trending in the right direction.
- DE DeShawn Williams had limited work Friday, his second consecutive day with a less-than-full workload. The Broncos listed him as questionable. Williams’ back flared up Wednesday.
- Hackett ruled out RG Quinn Meinerz for Sunday with a hamstring injury, as expected. Graham Glasgow will start in his place.
- ILB Josey Jewell saw limited practice work Friday. It marked his first work with the bulk of his teammates since he injured his calf in practice Sept. 8. The Broncos listed Jewell as questionable for Sunday.
- RT Billy Turner had his third consecutive day of full practice work. However, Cameron Fleming will start at his spot. The team listed Turner as questionable.