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Next Day Notebook: Denver Eyes Kuper Comeback

Posted Sep 24, 2012

Injured guard Chris Kuper will be evaluated, the Broncos are staying positive despite their 1-2 record, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard notches the second interception of his career.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The return of a team captain to Denver’s offensive line could be near.

Guard Chris Kuper has been out since Aug. 14 after suffering a forearm injury during a training camp practice. During Monday afternoon’s press conference, Head Coach John Fox said the staff will “have a look-see” at Kuper to determine his status for this weekend's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Fox noted that the guard hasn’t practiced "in some time," but Kuper worked separately with Strength and Conditioning Coach Luke Richesson during practice last week.

Kuper has started 73 games during his six prior years in the league, all with the Broncos.

The rest of the Broncos’ injury report following Sunday’s loss to the Texans is as follows: wide receiver Matthew Willis (hamstring strain), running back Willis McGahee (rib cartilage), linebacker Nate Irving (concussion), cornerback Tracy Porter (knee bruise), tight end Jacob Tamme (groin strain).

“No real updates on those,” Fox said Monday. “They’ll be day-to-day moving forward.”

Fox added that Porter’s knee bruise was “an old injury that kind of got re-tweaked.” The cornerback left the game in the second quarter after playing in 20 defensive snaps.

“He either hit the ground real hard or something hit his knee hard on the second (Texans touchdown),” Fox said.

Irving’s concussion occurred when he made a tackle on punt coverage in the second quarter.

“So far, in talking with our medical people, (Irving) has cleared up very well and looks good,” Fox said. “They’ll go through all the proper tests and much like everybody else on that list, he’ll be day-to-day.”

‘IT’S WHERE YOU FINISH’

In describing the team’s mentality following a 1-2 start to the season, Fox referenced last year’s Super Bowl champions, who didn’t start well, but finished well.

“As I reminded them, the guys walking around with the rings from last year were 7-7 after 14 games,” Fox said of the 2011 New York Giants. “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. We started the season 1-4 a year ago, so there’s no panic, there’s no ‘sky is falling’ (mentality).”

The team’s record after three games won’t dictate how the rest of the season goes, but the team’s response to two straight losses will have much more of an effect.

Although those two losses were to teams that are now a combined 6-0, no one on the Broncos is counting on future opponents being any weaker.

“What’s important is how we handle it inside that (locker) room,” Fox said. “We need to stay focused on what we’re doing. We’ve not played consistently enough in two of our three first ballgames. It wasn’t like the schedule snuck up on us, you know what I mean? We knew it was what it was, and it was very tough, and it doesn’t get much easier.”

WOODYARD’S ONE-HANDER

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard’s one-handed interception with less than one minute left in the first half Sunday set the Broncos up for a field goal before heading into the locker room.

On third-and-9 with the Texans inside Denver territory, Woodyard jumped in front of a Matt Schaub pass intended for wide receiver Kevin Walter.

His initial return brought the ball back deep into Houston territory, but upon further review it was determined Woodyard ran out of bounds at the Broncos’ 40-yard line.

Still, Denver was able to drive the ball to the Houston 35-yard line in 40 seconds of game clock, enabling Matt Prater to convert on a 53-yard field goal and bring the score to 21-11 at the half.

Woodyard said afterwards he thought he was going to take the interception all the way to paydirt.

“I joked the whole week with the guys that if I ever got the ball, I wasn't going to get touched,” Woodyard said.

The pick was Woodyard’s second of his career and first since 2009.