ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Defensive end Jared Crick is the latest victim of the Denver Broncos’ injury outbreak. He was carted off the practice field Monday with apparent back spasms.
Crick is the 10th Denver defender — and the sixth member of the D-line — to get hurt this offseason.
“Hey man, people better pray more at night, man. That’s the only thing that’s going to help,” cornerback Aqib Talib said.
Crick, who played more snaps than any defensive lineman on the team last year, appeared to be favoring his right leg after getting hurt during run drills. Coach Vance Joseph said he didn’t know the exact nature of Crick’s injury.
“The first thought is it was a back spasm. But we’re not sure, to be honest,” Joseph said.
Crick’s injury came 48 hours after the Broncos lost their other starting defensive end, Derek Wolfe, to a sprained right ankle . Although Wolfe avoided the dreaded high-ankle sprain, he’ll be out until the season opener.
“We’re going to be smart with this thing, so we’re not going to rush him back and put him out there at 80 percent. Not during preseason,” Joseph said. “So, we’re going to make sure he’s back 100 percent before he plays again.”
The Broncos have been hit hard along their rebuilt D-line this summer, losing end Billy Winn to a torn right ACL in their preseason opener last week and Wolfe over the weekend. Also sidelined until September are nose tackle Kyle Peko (foot) and outside linebackers Shane Ray (wrist) and Shaq Barrett (hip).
“It (stinks) anytime you get someone down,” Peko said in what’s becoming a familiar refrain. “Wolfe seems like he’ll be OK, but I’m not sure what went on with Crick today. But that’s the name of the game. It’s football. Things happen like that. You never know what’s going to be your last play, but we have a good group of guys here to step up.”
The depleted Broncos have one more practice in Denver before flying to San Francisco, where they’ll work out with the 49ers for two days in advance of their preseason game next weekend.
“It’s not going to be like a half-speed practice,” Talib said. “It’s almost like you get three preseason games in one week. So, it’s definitely good work.”
That’s why “the main thing is keeping everybody healthy,” said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Although Denver’s quarterbacks will continue splitting snaps during the two practices with the 49ers, Paxton Lynch will start the game after Trevor Siemian started last week against the Bears.
Thomas said his advice for Lynch this week will be not to overthink or dwell on mistakes but realize he has the tools.
Monday’s practice brought another example of the clusters of mistakes that have hounded Lynch this summer as he’s slipped behind Siemian in the NFL’s biggest position battle of the summer .
After Talib left his man and sliced in front of tight end Jeff Heuerman for an interception, Lynch’s next pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage and the two that followed were both broken up by DBs.
“Sometimes you see him with his head down, but I’ve been talking to him, always trying to keep him smiling,” Thomas said.
Lynch seemingly needs a breakout performance against the 49ers to convince the coaches that they should hold off on naming Siemian the starter.
Notes: Rookie WR/KR Carlos Henderson underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb on Sunday and is out indefinitely. His injury could open a roster spot for WR/KR Kalif Raymond, who had 99 yards on three touches against Chicago: a 24-yard catch, a 34-yard punt return and a 41-yard kickoff return. … S T.J. Ward (hamstring) won’t make the trip.
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