ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Vance Walker's season is likely over before it could begin.
A Monday afternoon MRI examination revealed that Walker suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during that morning's practice.
Walker is expected to miss the 2016 season. The injury is a crushing blow for the eight-year veteran, who had moved onto the first team and was holding down a starting spot as he replaced free-agent departure Malik Jackson in the starting lineup.
Walker suffered the injury on the first play of the nine-on-seven period Monday, when he got caught up in a crowd of players and had his leg rolled while defending a run play.
"We think the world of Vance and he was having a great camp," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "We'll support him through his recovery, and he'll come back stronger than ever."
With Walker sidelined, free-agent pickup Jared Crick, second-round pick Adam Gotsis and Billy Winn, who was signed during training camp, will all be asked to pick up the slack.
Nose tackles Sylvester Williams, Kyle Peko and Darius Kilgo could also see additional pass-rush roles as the Broncos adjust in the wake of the injury.