- Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
- Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
- Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board
of Selectors since 1999
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An ugly loss Thursday night to the Indianapolis Colts turned even uglier Friday morning for the Denver Broncos as coach Nathaniel Hackett said left tackle Garett Bolles (leg/ankle) and cornerback Ronald Darby (knee) will miss the remainder of the season.
It means in the span of four days — Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and Thursday’s loss to the Colts — the Broncos have seen running back Javonte Williams, Bolles and Darby each suffer season-ending injuries.
Bolles suffered a fractured lower right leg with just over three minutes remaining in regulation of the 12-9 overtime loss to the Colts. The Broncos were not optimistic about the sixth-year tackle’s short-term prognosis when he was examined by the team’s medical staff at the stadium.
He was taken for additional tests Friday morning and the need for surgery to repair the fracture was confirmed. Bolles has been one of the team’s more durable players, having started from his first game as a rookie in 2016 when he was the first-round-draft pick. He has missed just four games in his career (three last season — two with an ankle injury and another on the COVID-19/reserve list).
Darby, who had ACL surgery in 2018 when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, suffered his injury just before halftime. Add in the fact wide receiver Tim Patrick, who led the team in touchdown catches last year, suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp to go with Williams’ injury this past Sunday, the Broncos (2-3) have suffered significant losses at the top of the depth chart over their first five games.
Outside linebacker Randy Gregory also suffered meniscus damage in his knee against the Raiders as well and will miss several weeks.
“Injuries are things are things, as a coach, I can’t control,” Hackett said. “They’re long-term things. I can only go to the drawing board and grind, and try to find ways to put people in good positions and the new guys are going to have to go in there. We have to find a way to make them successful.”
Hackett said Friday since the Broncos have additional time before their next game — Monday night Oct. 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers — the offensive staff will discuss who will replace Bolles. Calvin Anderson finished the game Thursday, but Billy Turner, a free agent signee who has yet to play this season (knee injury), is an option and is closing in on a return to the lineup.
Hackett said Turner could have played against the Colts, but because it was a short prep week, Turner was inactive.
Rookie Damarri Mathis, a fifth-round pick in April’s draft, played in Darby’s spot in the second half Thursday.
Hackett also said linebacker Josey Jewell was week-to-week’ with a sprained knee he suffered against the Colts and outside linebacker Baron Browning would be day-to-day with a sprained wrist.
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