ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Safety David Bruton and left guard Orlando Franklin will go through the league-mandated post-concussion protocol over the coming days after being injured during Sunday's 47-14 win over the Raiders.
Bruton also has a neck sprain, Head Coach John Fox said. But given the nature of the hit from Oakland's Denico Autry, the time Bruton spent on the field receiving treatment and his immediate transportation to a local hospital via ambulance for further tests, the team, player and coaches were relieved that his injuries weren't worse.
Bruton sat up when medical personnel first arrived, then returned to a supine position.
"He got dizzy, so they laid him back down," Fox said.
Bruton replaced T.J. Ward in the starting lineup after he missed Sunday's game because of a neck strain suffered in the fourth quarter at Cincinnati six days earlier. Ward practiced on a limited basis last week, but without a helmet, and could be in line for more extensive work in the coming days.
The Broncos hope to have Ward and linebacker Brandon Marshall, who has missed the last two weeks because of a sprained foot, back for the divisional playoff on Jan. 11. The first-round bye should give both a better chance of returning.
"They will be back. Not a 'better chance.' It's the playoffs," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. on Sunday, with a laugh. "They've got to play through everything in the playoffs."
TIGHT END JULIUS THOMASplayed a third consecutive game Sunday since not playing any snaps from Week 12-14 because of an ankle injury he suffered in St. Louis on Nov. 16. Thomas played 42 percent of the snaps against the Raiders Sunday, but did not catch a pass and was not targeted.
Thomas said the bye will give him an opportunity to focus on his rehabilitation work.
"Oh yeah, I definitely needed this bye. I'm looking forward to it," he said. "When you're practicing and playing, it's kind of hard. It's a little bit of give and take."
Thomas recalled that in the days after he suffered the injury, he knew it was going to be something with which he had to cope for the near term.
"I knew it was going to be one of those things where you're going to have to fight through it," he said. "Talking to the doctor about it, it's something that's going to linger a little bit.
"You never really know. There's no timeframe on when you feel like you're ready to just go run around and it'll feel great again. He (the doctor) kind of expressed that's going to be a long time coming, but you can't injure it worse, so just continue to do what you can."
AT RUNNING BACK, the Broncos deactivated rookie Juwan Thompson on Sunday, giving him a chance to rest after he dealt with nagging knee and hip injuries that have placed him on the injury report in recent weeks.
Ronnie Hillman returned after a six-game absence because of a foot sprain and picked up 56 yards on 15 carries. A day later, he said that his foot was sore.
"You get the soreness, but it's nothing that you can't play with," Hillman said. "The two weeks (between games), I think, will be good for me."
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Emergency Room Care/ Denver ERs
HealthONE has 12 full-service emergency departments -- seven at our hospitals and five free-standing ERs. These include a Level I Trauma Center (adult and pediatric) at Swedish Medical Center; Level II Trauma Center at The Medical Center of Aurora; and Level III Trauma Center at Sky Ridge Medical Center. AIRLIFE-DENVER is our air medical transport serving facilities in an eight-state region.
The Medical Center of Aurora
[Saddle Rock ER](http://www.auroramed.com/conditionswetreat/emergencytrauma/saddle- rock-er.htm)
Centennial Medical Plaza
North Suburban Medical Center
[North Suburban Northeast ER](http://www.northsuburban.com/conditionswetreat/emergencycare/north east-er.htm)
North Suburban Northwest ER
Presbyterian/ St. Luke's Medical Center
[Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL](http://www.rockymountainhospitalforchildren.com/emergency-room-finder /index.htm)
Rose Medical Center
[Sky Ridge Medical Center](http://www.skyridgemedcenter.com/conditionswetreat/emergency_trauma /)
[Swedish Medical Center](http://www.swedishhospital.com/conditions-we-treat/emergency-services /)
[Swedish Southwest ER](http://www.swedishhospital.com/conditions-we-treat/emergency-services /southwest-er.htm)
The HealthONE System of Hospitals now offers you and your family convenient ways to find the closest HealthONE ER and average wait times. HealthONE's Fast LocatER is our mobile suite of tools that you can take with you on the go.
Text "ER" to 23000
Our 24/7 Emergency Rooms for adult and pediatric patients are prepared to serve your medical emergencies. Get our average ER Wait Times by texting "ER" to 23000. Standard message and data rates may apply.
Prefer to call? Just dial 720-523-3888 and enter your zip code, and you will receive our closest HealthONE ERs.
See the best moments captured from the Broncos' Week 17 win over the Raiders, which capped a perfect season at home.