ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos prepare for the start of training camp on Wednesday, they'll do so with several of their star players under close inspection as they near full recovery from their respective injuries.
Pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will have their practice work monitored and managed, Head Coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday, as the two recover from ankle injuries. Miller missed the entire season after suffering his injury mere days before the 2020 season opener, while Chubb had a minor procedure on his ankle this offseason.
"I think Von's ready to go, and we're just going to manage him just because of his age and occasionally give him a day or two off here and there," Fangio said. "Bradley, coming off his injury, he's not in great shape yet, because with it being an ankle, he missed a lot of workout time in the offseason, up until even today."
Sutton, meanwhile, is nearing the end of his rehab from a torn ACL that he suffered during a Week 2 game against Pittsburgh.
"Courtland's really ready to go, but we're going to monitor him," Fangio said. "He had an ACL, unfortunately for us, last year. Fortunately for us this year, the injury was early last year. So from a time standpoint, he's ready to go. He's had a tremendous rehab, and we're going to manage him."
Sutton later said that the last thing he needs to feel fully back is to feel the full physicality of the sport.
"I feel very close to 100 percent," Sutton said Tuesday. "I think my last percent that I need is the football aspect — you know, getting tackled. We play a very physical sport. I've been working my butt off in rehab. I'm not worried too much about the routes, the non-contact things. I haven't been tackled since September of last year, so this is going to be the biggest thing that I'm looking forward to. I'm not discouraged about that process. I'm looking forward to it."
During the preseason, Sutton said he'll play in one preseason game to get that feel before the season begins.
"We do have a plan with playing one preseason game so that we can get some time and in-game reps before the season starts," Sutton said. "Me being a competitor, I wish I could play in all of them, but that's not the picture we made out for this game plan and this timeline."
Fellow wide receiver KJ Hamler should be back in action during training camp, too, after missing time with a hamstring injury during OTAs. Given Hamler's speed and the additional dimension he brings to Denver's offense, Fangio is anxious to see Hamler available on the field this summer.
"We've got to do a good job of keeping him healthy," Fangio said. "He's obviously had some soft-tissue injuries. He reported to us last year prior to camp [and] had one that nagged him some in camp, had one in the offseason. So we need to have a special plan for him to get enough work and still keep him away from those soft-tissue injuries. Very explosive, very quick, very fast. I think he's a guy that can make big plays for you, and once he does, he can be a guy defenses have to deal with and it opens up other avenues for you. But I personally have a lot of high expectations for him."
Tackle Bobby Massie, who missed some practice with a pectoral strain during OTAs, is also expected to return to fully take part in the competition at right tackle.
"Massie's healthy," Fangio said. "We've got Bobby, we've got Cam, and a guy not to go to sleep on is Calvin Anderson and even Quinn Bailey. You don't want to go to sleep on Calvin. He's part of that battle also. And yeah, the sooner the better, but it's not quite as critical as the quarterback position as far as naming that guy. We work a lot of different combinations at practice anyway. We'd like to solidify as soon as we can."
On Saturday, the Broncos placed three players on the Physically Unable to Perform list, including linebacker Baron Browning. The third-round pick missed much of the offseason program with a lower-leg injury.
"We hope to get him back shortly," General Manager George Paton said Tuesday. "He could probably go tomorrow, but we just want to be safe, be conservative, but he'll be ready here within the week, I believe."