ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Emmanuel Sanders' 2015 training camp must feel eerily similar to the previous year's.
In 2014, Sanders put in extra training camp work to get up to speed with Peyton Manning and to learn the offense, and then had a slight quad injury. But it all worked out; he broke out in the Broncos' third preseason game with five catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans before launching into his first Pro Bowl season.
This year, Sanders has been battling a hamstring injury since Friday. The injury kept him out for most of Tuesday's practice but he returned on Wednesday.
"I feel really good," Sanders said after practice. "Obviously with the hamstring we're taking it day by day. I got out here today and felt really good, felt no pain at all — I felt like I was back to myself. So I've just got to continuously get better."
There have been a few minor injuries here and there during camp, and Head Coach Gary Kubiak has opted for precautionary measures for Sanders and others, like Chris Harris Jr., who has missed the last handful of practices.
"Well the thing is, obviously with a new coaching staff, we're getting to try to know each other and Kubiak is one of those guys that he's been like 'Hey, look, take your time. If you're hurt, you're hurt.' and we don't really rush back," Sanders said. "Obviously it's still the preseason—and I'm not saying it's not important, because it's definitely important for me. I want to be out there and I want to be able to make plays, so when I enter the regular season I'll be ready but still I don't want to go out there play hurt. So that was the biggest challenge, just making sure I come back at the correct time."
The fans are back and the Broncos are on the field for Wednesday's practice at UCHealth Training Center.
With the assorted injuries, decisions loom for Kubiak and the coaching staff for the first preseason game coming up on Friday.
"Obviously we've got some guys with some nicks that are missing time we've got to make some decisions on," Kubiak said, adding that he was heading to a meeting to discuss those questions.
"I want them fresh. I want them to be fresh and cut them loose Friday," he said.
Training camp has been a tiring grind of physical and mental fortitude, but Kubiak's approach to training camp has been one met with plenty of happy faces. And the veterans were especially pleased with news the head coach sprang on them Tuesday night.
"Last night in team meetings," Sanders began, "[Kubiak] pretty much told the vets that we didn't have to stay in the hotel and everyone started screaming 'We love ya! We love ya!'
"He's been really good to us, and everybody's feeling good. I'm excited to see the test that we have in front of us on Friday."