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Clady Working Way Back

Posted Apr 23, 2014

Ryan Clady talked about his rehab progress.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Last year was not the first time that left tackle Ryan Clady was forced into an extensive lower-body rehabilitation process. But the grind of recovering from the Lisfranc injury he suffered in Week 2 was much different than working his way back from a torn patellar tendon in the 2010 offseason.

The mid-foot injury required Clady to be on crutches or in a boot for approximately two months -- "until the end of November," he said. 

"It's a little longer off the feet, but it's not that bad of an injury," Clady said. "I feel like I should be able to come back at 100 percent and do well."

But he's not at that level yet, describing himself as "getting there." Although he has been able to do "most" weight-room activities, he remains below full speed in his running. He also does not have a firm timetable for when he will return to practice.

"I'm just going to feel it out and ease my way back in," he said. 

In that respect, the coming organized team activities may look much like last year's did. Clady did not participate in the 2013 OTAs because of shoulder surgery that followed the 2012 season. The only positive from his Lisfranc injury was that he was able to ease the burden on that shoulder and complete his recovery.

When he returns, he'll find the offensive line altered. Orlando Franklin's switch to left guard -- which he announced via Twitter on Monday -- means that whenever Clady returns, he will have to adjust to a new neighbor after playing alongside Zane Beadles the past four seasons.

Clady believes the transition will be smooth.

"(Franklin) has that power that you need at guard to get the job done," he said. "I think he'll be able to move quite well."

Clady's replacement, Chris Clark, appears likely to replace Franklin at right tackle.

"I think he can do it well, because since he's been here, he's kind of been the swing guy, so he's played both positions in practice and what-not," Clady said. "He's definitely able to do that."

But if Clark works on the right side during next month's organized team activities, then the left side could offer an opportunity until Clady returns. Backup Winston Justice or second-year player Vinston Painter appear to be in line to fill in for Clady. 

Justice was signed to be the backup at both tackle spots after Clady was injured. Painter, a 2013 sixth-round pick, was promoted off the practice squad in January and could merit a look to help in evaluation. Either way, the focus will be on Clark and Franklin, while the Broncos wait on Clady's return.

"We should still be able to have a great offensive line, no doubt," Clady said.