Denver Broncos Hot Topics - Friday, Jan. 6

Linebacker Al Wilson needs some time off to heal his broken thumb, but he doesn't want to wait any longer for the Denver Broncos' first playoff game. Read about Wilson and and other personnel news in today's edition of "Hot Topics" about the Broncos.

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DENVER BRONCOS
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HOT TOPIC

Al Wilson needs some time off to heal his broken thumb, but he doesn't want to wait any longer for the Denver Broncos' first playoff game.

Wilson, Denver's middle linebacker, was selected by the Broncos in the first round of the 1999 draft. He didn't play in a home playoff game in his first six seasons. His first home playoff game will be on Jan. 14, after Denver's first-round playoff bye.

"No amount of words can express how fired up and how ready I am to play this game," said Wilson, Denver's emotional leader on defense. "Not just for myself and my teammates, but for the fans in the city of Denver, the whole state of Colorado, actually."

Wilson will have to play with a cast on his right hand, but that doesn't seem to bother him much. Wilson broke his thumb in Denver's second-to-last regular-season game. He had surgery on the thumb two days later.

"About six weeks it takes to really heal up," Wilson said. "I don't have six weeks."

Wilson said he hoped he was setting a tone for the rest of the team by playing through the injury.

"I would hope so," Wilson said. "But any guy on this team would do what I'm doing, so it's not like I'm doing anything special. This is what we get paid for."

PLAYER NOTES

--CB Darrent Williams proclaimed himself healthy and ready for Denver's first playoff game. He missed Denver's last three games with a groin injury. But the Broncos will have a tough decision because fellow rookie Domonique Foxworth has played so well in his absence. Williams could be the nickel back in his return.

--QB Jake Plummer might be affected if offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak leaves after the season. Kubiak, who is drawing interest for several head coaching positions that are available around the league, and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan have done a great job with Plummer this season to minimize his mistakes.

--S Nick Ferguson has had a good season and some teammates felt he should have gotten Pro Bowl consideration. Ferguson's strength has always been tackling, but he has been a ballhawk in the secondary. Ferguson had five interceptions this season.

--LB Al Wilson said he thought he had his best season this year. Statistically Wilson has had better seasons but he said he is reading plays better this year and has done a good job as a leader on the defense.

--CB Champ Bailey is played the best football of his two seasons with the Broncos in the final six weeks of the regular season. Bailey could have a marquee matchup in Denver's first playoff game if Cincinnati wins this weekend. He would face Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, who got the best of him in a regular-season meeting at Cincinnati last year.



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