ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Entering a Week 6 matchup against the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos’ injury report seemed too good to be true. Before the Broncos faced off against the Giants on Sunday Night Football, the only two names listed on the entire injury report were Cody Latimer and Paxton Lynch, both backup players.
Oh, how a single game can change things. Unfortunately for Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph and his staff, it was a drastic change following their fifth game of the season.
During the team’s 23-10 loss on Sunday night, Denver saw their quarterback, right tackle, and multiple receivers go down. What seemed to be worst, and most gruesome, were lower leg injuries to receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie.
On Monday, it was revealed they both suffered right ankle sprains and will miss Sunday’s Week 7 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. After Week 7, both players will be “week-to-week” with no further timetable for either of their returns.
“Sprains come in all different levels. It’s a sprain. It’s a sprain with both guys,” Joseph explained shortly after getting the diagnosis. “Isaiah’s got a little lesser of a sprain than Emmanuel.”
This news comes as the Broncos have been without Latimer the last two games as he’s been dealing with a knee injury. Last week it was reported that Latimer would miss two additional weeks, with the game against the Chargers on Sunday being the second of the two.
“Well we’ve obviously got [Bennie] Fowler, and we got Jordan Taylor, and those guys got to step up and play,” Joseph said when he was asked who he will be the next man up to replace Sanders. “[Demaryius Thomas] will still be alive for us. As far as the roster goes, that’s being discussed if we are going to bring someone up or look outside of our building.”
The only option the Broncos have on their own roster would be to activate second-year receiver Hunter Sharp from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Otherwise, they’ll fill the void of the missing two, or three, receivers with someone not currently within the organization.
Much like Denver lost two receivers on Sunday; they also took two blows to the right tackle position as a result of Sunday’s game. After replacing Menelik Watson in the second quarter—who left with a right-calf strain—Billy Turner stepped in and played the rest of the game. However, Turner broke his right hand and underwent surgery Monday afternoon.
“He’s got a right-hand fracture. He’s having surgery up in Vail as we speak,” Joseph revealed as a surprise to the media. “He’s going to be out this week. After the week is over, he’ll be week-to-week also.”
Fortunately for the depth at right tackle, Joseph said Watson is “okay” and day-to-day. With Turner out, Joseph said he’s “not sure” if the team will make a move to bolster the right side of the line.
“All options will be explored,” the head coach said in classic coach-speak. “We still have [Donald] Stephenson who’s healthy. Allen Barbre has played right tackle in his career. So we got some options there.”
The glimmer of hope on the injury front came with the Broncos’ two biggest names: Trevor Siemian and Thomas. Both key offensive players underwent MRI’s Monday morning with neither revealing an injury.
Joseph deemed Siemian “fine,” adding “He’ll go Sunday.” As for Thomas, he has a lower leg bruise and will be about to go against the Chargers.
They say when it rains it pours. After experiencing a major drought, if you will, through the first quarter of the season on the injury front, the flood gates opened Sunday night.