Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Nov. 7

The Denver Broncos won't go into Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at full health. The only question is how decimated they will be. Check out the latest in today's edition of "Broncos Update Insider."

The Broncos won't go into Sunday's game against the Raiders at full health. The only question is how decimated they will be.

Safety Sam Brandon, a valuable backup because he matches up well against tight ends in the "big nickel" package, will be out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Aside from Brandon, the Broncos have many players whose status is uncertain.

Starting end Ebenezer Ekuban has a strained thigh, and linebacker Ian Gold has a strained hamstring. Both players went out in the first half against Pittsburgh; both had MRI tests on Monday and could miss Sunday's game.

Backup defensive end Patrick Chukwurah has a hamstring injury, and receiver Rod Smith and cornerback Darrent Williams have mild separated shoulders. All of them will be evaluated through the week.

Denver lost both starting safeties, Nick Ferguson and John Lynch, to concussions in Sunday's game. Both had CT scans on Monday that were negative, and both should be ready to play. Linebacker Al Wilson had a mild concussion and didn't need further tests, coach Mike Shanahan said.

The Broncos will wait until later in the week to make a decision on the playing status for some of their injured players.

"A few guys are beat up, some bumps and bruises," Shanahan said. "Hopefully we'll recover quick."

NOTES, QUOTES --S Nick Ferguson suffered a concussion when Steelers WR Hines Ward hit him with a blindside block on a running play. Ward celebrated as Ferguson was down on the ground, and Ferguson wasn't happy about it.

"It's like this and I think a lot of guys who have played this Pittsburgh team will possibly say the same thing: It's one thing to hit a guy when he's looking, it's another to hit a guy when he's not," Ferguson said. "If you want to celebrate after hitting someone that may be defenseless and didn't see you, fine. If you're that type of person, fine."

--The Broncos blitzed some against Pittsburgh. They have avoided blitzing much this season but lined up S John Lynch in the box plenty of times. One of Ben Roethlisberger's interceptions came against a heavy blitz.

"We blitzed a little more than normal, but we didn't have to do it too much," CB Champ Bailey said.

--The Broncos' Nov. 19 game against the Chargers was moved from 2:15 p.m. Mountain time to 6:15 p.m. as part of the flexible scheduling for NBC's "Sunday Night Football."

"I think anytime someone wants you on prime time, it's a compliment to our football team and our organization," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

PLAYER NOTES

--OT Matt Lepsis has only a torn ACL, which the Broncos viewed as good news. There was no damage to the other ligaments in the knee. He should make a full recovery by next year.

--DE Elvis Dumervil played about 50 snaps against Pittsburgh, far more than his usual workload. Dumervil impressed Broncos coach Mike Shanahan with his performance, so he could see more action if Ebenezer Ekuban can't play.

--LB Louis Green played most of the game on defense after Ian Gold went out with an injury. Green is a good special teams player and he held his own on defense. If Gold can't play this week, either Green or Nate Webster would get the start.

--S Curome Cox played a big role against Pittsburgh after the Broncos lost three safeties to injuries. He had an interception late in the game. Cox is a versatile, smart athlete who won't miss many assignments, even playing in a pinch off the bench.

--CB Domonique Foxworth probably will get fined by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday's game. Foxworth played a lot in nickel packages, and he also filled in for injured Darrent Williams in the base defense.



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