ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Guard Max Garcia will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL, Head Coach Vance Joseph announced Friday.
Garcia suffered the injury in practice on Thursday but did not miss a rep and finished the session.
“It was really weird,” Joseph said. “I watched practice from the last play back to the first play, and he didn’t miss a down. The play he was injured on, I saw it. It was kind of a slip. It was no big deal. He finished practice. Again, things happen. I’ve seen guys finish games with those kind of injuries, so I’m not surprised that it was an injury. Again, we have to move on and get ready to play a game.
“I obviously feel bad for Max, because Max works so hard. He’s one of those guys who is the same guy every day. He worked so hard to get back into the lineup and this happens.”
Billy Turner, who is listed as the backup right guard and right tackle on the Broncos’ Week 11 depth chart, will start at left guard in Garcia’s place.
“We’ve got guys in that room that [are] capable,” Joseph said. “I thought leaving camp that we had the best line we’ve had here in a while as far as depth and as far as guys who can play guard, center and tackle. It happens, it’s football. We’ve got Billy Turner playing the left guard, along with Eli [Wilkinson] playing the right guard, with [Connor McGovern] playing the center. So I’m comfortable. Let’s go play.”
Joseph said rookie Sam Jones and veteran Gino Gradkowski — who was signed earlier this week — will both be active on Sunday against the Chargers.
“That’s why we signed Gino, because he’s played a lot of football, especially at center,” Joseph said. “That’s a different deal than playing guard, so absolutely, that’s why we signed Gino.”
Garcia will likely join starting left guard Ron Leary and starting center Matt Paradis on injured reserve. Leary tore his Achilles in a Week 6 game against the Rams, while Paradis fractured his fibula and tore ligaments against the Texans in Week 9.
Starting right tackle Jared Veldheer has also missed significant time. He was held out of four games with a bone bruise before returning against the Texans.
Garcia’s injury leaves the Broncos with eight healthy offensive linemen, and seven are expected to dress for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
“Ain’t too many guys left,” Joseph said, “so they’re going to play.”
Joseph also ruled out linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) and safety Dymonte Thomas (ankle) for the Broncos’ Week 11 game.
He did not confirm whether Marshall would return in Week 12 against the Steelers.
“He’s progressing,” Joseph said. “When he’s healthy he’ll play, but right now he’s not. Josey [Jewell]’s played good football, and we’ll see. We’ve got Su’a Cravens back, so he’s playing some dime ‘backer for us. But when he’s healthy, he’ll play.”
Cornerback Bradley Roby, running back Royce Freeman, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and safety Darian Stewart were all not given game statuses on the team’s final injury report, which means the four players are expected to be available on Sunday.