Broncos must replace Nalen

When Tom Nalen tore his biceps muscle against San Diego on Oct. 7, the Denver Broncos weren't left with many options at center.

Nalen had missed only 10 games since 1995, but Ben Hamilton played nine of those when Nalen hurt his knee in 2002. But Hamilton is out as well, put on injured reserve with post-concussion symptoms. Nalen went on injured reserve on Oct. 9.

"Losing a guy like Tom Nalen is a big blow to our football team," coach Mike Shanahan said. "A captain. A great leader."

The Broncos' best option appears to be Chris Myers. Myers was a sixth-round pick in 2005 who hadn't played on offense until this year. He took Hamilton's spot at left guard, and will probably move to center to replace Nalen.

Myers said he feels good about taking over for Nalen, if he gets the call. The Broncos other options in the organization are Greg Eslinger and Mark Fenton, who are both on the practice.

"I love center," Myers said. "I enjoy it a lot. If I preferred to play anything it might be center because I like being in the middle of everything. If I stay at left guard, move to right guard, it doesn't matter to me as long as I'm on the team."

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Travis Henry will continue to play as he battles the NFL in court over the results of a drug test. Henry, who faces a year suspension, should continue to play for a few weeks. He will likely get an appeal with the NFL once the case is cleared up in court.

--G Ben Hamilton should return at full strength next year. The post-concussion symptoms haven't gone away, but the Broncos think with some time off he should get better and be ready to play in 2008.

--S Nick Ferguson is completely healed from knee surgery that ended his 2006 season. The injury wasn't that serious but was enough to keep him out the final few weeks of the season. He is second on the Broncos with 38 tackles.

--CB Champ Bailey leads the Broncos with five special teams tackles. He has been a safety on kickoff coverage, but the Broncos took him off that duty in their last game.

--TE Nate Jackson's season-ending groin injury could hurt the Broncos on special teams as well. Jackson had four special teams tackles, which was second on the team.



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