ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **This has long expected to be the week that linebacker Danny Trevathan returns to the lineup after missing the last eight games because of a crack just above his knee.
Trevathan returned to practice two weeks ago, but remained on recallable injured reserve, as dictated by the league's rules regarding the recallable designation, which can be used on just one player a season.
"Danny's rounding into shape," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said last Thursday. "We're really focusing on that part, the conditioning aspect. He's working primarily with the scout team over the last two weeks, and then obviously here soon we should get the green light with him, and it'll be great to get him back."
But at a Monday afternoon press conference, Head Coach John Fox reminded listeners that Trevathan is only eligible to return; he could remain on injured reserve if he is not ready.
"It's way better than not eligible," Fox said. "But we have to see if he's healthy enough throughout this week. When we need to make that decision, we'll keep you posted."
The Broncos have the luxury of not rushing Trevathan back because of Brandon Marshall's stellar play at weakside linebacker. ProFootballFocus.com's measurements rank Marshall as the league's third-best 4-3 outside linebacker, behind Von Miller and Detroit's DeAndre Levy, and he finished Sunday's game with a team-leading nine tackles and an interception. Last year, those same metrics ranked Trevathan 11th among 4-3 OLBs.
Having the two linebackers together in some form should pack a potent punch.
"I can't wait, because Brandon Marshall's playing at a high level, he's having a Pro Bowl year, and with him and Danny back, there'll just be so much speed on the field," said defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.
When Trevathan does return to the 53-man roster, he will be the first Bronco to come back under the recallable designation since it was instituted in 2012. Denver used it on running back Willis McGahee that year and on safety Rahim Moore in 2013, but neither was able to play again in those respective seasons.
LOOKING BACK AT SUNDAY:
The Broncos emerged relatively unscathed from the 24-17 win over the Bills, with the only injury being offensive tackle Paul Cornick's sprained toe. Cornick played 16 snaps as an extra tackle Sunday as the Broncos continued their recent emphasis on power-blocking formations with six offensive linemen and tight end Virgil Green.
Running back C.J. Anderson hobbled off the field with an ankle problem that he said "happened last week," but stayed in the game and finished with three touchdowns.
"I'm feeling good," Anderson said after the game. "Things happen and I just feel like if you can play, you can play."
Tight end Julius Thomas was active, but did not play a snap and watched from the sideline without his helmet. He took part in every practice last week, but on a limited basis, and has not played a snap in a game since he injured his ankle Nov. 16 at St. Louis.
Safety Quinton Carter was inactive after missing two days of practice last week because of a knee injury. David Bruton handled his role in the Broncos' sub package and played "tremendous," Fox said.
"It might be the best game of safety I've seen him play since I've been here," Fox added.
Cornerback Aqib Talib returned from a hamstring injury and played all but six snaps on defense. He finished with four tackles.
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