ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Running back Montee Ball will miss practice time because of an emergency appendectomy, but is expected to make a full recovery with a targeted return by Week 1.
Head Coach John Fox said that Ball began feeling the effects of appendicitis Sunday. The symptoms persisted into Monday morning, at which point he was sent to see a doctor, who made the diagnosis.
"It didn't (rupture)," Fox said. "It was really a blessing that we caught it now. He'll have the procedure immediately and he'll start the healing process."
Before going into surgery, Ball tweeted a message to his followers:
I appreciate the get well wishes everyone! I will be ok and come back stronger than ever!! #Broncos — Montee Ball (@ballrb28) August 4, 2014
A full recovery to playing availability within a month is now typical of the procedure, which has grown less invasive over the years.
Assuming no complications, the question for Ball revolves around how long it will take him to seize back the No. 1 role he holds, which was confirmed by the release of the depth chart Sunday afternoon.
Fox didn't want to guarantee whether Ball would have the No. 1 job awaiting him upon his return.
"I'm not into predicting the future, but he's really grown a lot as far as his understanding of the offense and execution of all parts of his job," Fox said. "Knowing the kind of guy that he is, he'll work at it, mentally he'll stay on top of his game."
In the meantime, Ball's absence will be felt, nowhere more than the running backs' meeting room.
"We're going to miss him a lot, and hey, you've got to step up," said running back C.J. Anderson. "One of us has got to step up. Me and (Ronnie Hillman), we'll do that. There's no problem there.
"But we're going to miss (Ball) a lot. He's like a brother."
Added Kapri Bibbs: "(Ball) is a great guy to have in the room. A great guy to learn from. Actually, he's been taking me under his wing this whole time -- him and Ronnie. Me, as a running back, I need those two guys in the room, so when he gets back, that'll be even better for me."