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Broncos plan to place OLB Shane Ray on IR, eye Week 8 return

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos plan to place outside linebacker Shane Ray on injured reserve and activate him halfway through the season, President of Football Operations/GM John Elway said Saturday.

That timeframe falls in line with the Broncos' previous expectations for Ray's recovery after he suffered a torn ligament in his wrist during training camp.

Elway said the Broncos expect Ray to return for a "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Chiefs in Week 8.

The Broncos' bye comes in Week 5, and Denver plays four of its six games at home before that meeting.

When the Broncos move Ray to IR, Denver will gain an extra roster spot. For a player to return mid-season, that move must be made at least a day after initial rosters are set.

"We didn't want to use that [roster] spot," Elway said. "He's not going to be back any earlier than that. So when he does come back, he'll be really ready to go. Having [the schedule] fall that way for us helped us with that extra spot."

All-Pro Von Miller will join Shaquil Barett, Kasim Edebali, DeMarcus Walker and any other late additions in the Broncos' attempt to maintain a dangerous pass rush in Ray's absence.

Elway did not commit to which position the vacant roster spot would go.

"We're going over that right now," Elway said. "Looking through and seeing what's available. As I said, we're going to try to find the best player I can."

Each NFL team can activate two players per season off the injured reserve list once that player has spent six weeks on IR. After two more weeks — eight weeks total — that player may return to game action. The 2017 season will be the first in which each team can activate two players off IR.

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