Broncos Update Insider - 12/9

Denver Broncos running back Peyton Hillis will miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring, another blow to the Broncos' tailback situation.

Hillis hurt his hamstring making a catch against Kansas City. He would have needed eight weeks to recover so he was placed on injured reserve.

"It's always tough to lose a guy like that," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

Hillis is the fifth tailback to go on injured reserve and a sixth, Selvin Young, has missed most of the season with a groin injury.

Tatum Bell, P.J. Pope, Young and Cory Boyd are the remaining tailbacks. Shanahan said Boyd will be signed from the practice squad. Shanahan offered no clues on who would start or how carries would be split up.

Bell played the entire second half after Hillis' injury, but that was because Pope and Young were inactive. Young wasn't quite ready to return from injury and Pope was inactive for special-teams purposes.

Bell was solid in a relief role, rushing for 52 yards against the Chiefs.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos have been pleased with the strides they have made in run defense since a 41-7 loss at New England on Oct. 20, and that culminated in a good effort against Kansas City's Larry Johnson on Sunday. Johnson had 36 yards, or 162 fewer than he had in the first meeting between the teams.

"We've been playing tremendously well against the run the last four or five weeks," cornerback Dre Bly said.

Denver's run defense will be tested this week against a strong Carolina rushing offense.

--The win against Kansas City was not only important in the standings for the Broncos, but also key to them getting back on track at home. The Broncos had lost three straight home games, and were frustrated at the poor play at home considering some of their road wins.

"We hadn't been winning at home much," said defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who had a sack. "There were a lot of things we had to prove to ourselves as a team."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Cory Boyd will be signed off the practice squad to the active roster this week after Peyton Hillis' season-ending injury. Boyd wouldn't seem like a likely candidate to get carries immediately, but the Broncos are unpredictable when it comes to the tailback position.

--WR Brandon Stokley has an injured ankle or heel, but Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't think the injury would keep Stokley out this week.

--RB Selvin Young was listed as probable on last week's injury report but didn't play. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Young was close but feared he could set himself back if he played.

--S Marquand Manuel started but came out for the second play of the game and usually played only in dime situations after that. Rookie Josh Barrett played most of the game. Manuel could see his playing time diminish if Barrett is given a bigger role down the stretch.

--CB Dre Bly has played well while Champ Bailey has been out with a groin injury. He has made some big plays, including a key tackle on a fourth and goal against quarterback Tyler Thigpen that helped save Denver's 24-17 win.



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