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Broncos Injury Update: DeMarcus Ware works out


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **As Christian Ponder took his first snaps in a Broncos practice jersey, OLB DeMarcus Ware worked with Strength and Conditioning Coach Luke Richesson on the south end of the practice fields as the Broncos began their preparations for the New England Patriots.

Ware has not played or practiced since re-injuring his back against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 8, and did not travel with the team to Chicago last weekend.

He was not in uniform spent the opening periods of practice working on flexibility drills with his legs.


"He has made some improvement," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's on the field today doing some work ... but he's got a little ways to go."

In the meantime, Ware is missed.

When Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was asked how the defense was playing without the perennial Pro Bowler, his reply was simple: "Not as well.

"The other guys [Shaquil Barrett, Shane Ray and Lerentee McCray] have come in and done a good job," Phillips said. "We still have a good pass rush and we still play good run defense with those guys, but anytime you lose a guy like DeMarcus -- I mean, he's still our [sack-leader] and he's been out [three games]. That tells you one thing in the pass game.

During the Broncos' Wednesday practice preparing for the Patriots, Christian Ponder joined in after being signed that morning and DeMarcus Ware stretched with the training staff.

"He's a force that we don't have right now, but we hope to get him back [this week]."

LG Evan Mathis also did not practice. Mathis injured his ankle late in last Sunday's win over the Bears.

"His ankle is really sore coming out of the game. He did nothing today," Kubiak said. "Once we went to practice, he went to the weight room actually with Peyton [Manning], DeMarcus and those guys. We've got some ground to make up with him, too. We'll see, though.

Mathis dealt with a hamstring injury earlier in the season, which helped lead to the decision to give rookie Max Garcia at least one series of work in Mathis' place in recent games.

Manning also did not practice. He is in a walking cast as he recovers from a plantar fascia tear. He is expected to miss at least the next two weeks.

With Manning injured, the Broncos signed Ponder. The ex-Vikings starting quarterback wore jersey No. 2, since the No. 7 that he wore at Florida State and Minnesota is, of course, retired for John Elway.

All other Broncos on the 53-man roster practiced.


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