ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Head Coach John Fox had to take a deep breath after his 47-second recitation of an injury report that included 16 names, eight of whom did not practice Wednesday, with six others working on a limited basis.
It might have been easier for him to list the players who were not listed on the injury report.
"I considered that, but we're good," Fox said after a 90-minute session that saw the Broncos work without helmets and pads to try and ease the accumulating wear and tear on a team that has now played 10 games since its Week 4 bye.
Headlining the eight players who did not practice were running back C.J. Anderson and wide receivers Wes Welker -- who missed last Wednesday's work -- and Demaryius Thomas, who played Sunday after suffering an ankle bruise when he was stepped on during practice Dec. 3.
Anderson said after Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills that he hurt his ankle against the Chiefs the previous week, but played through it. He hobbled off the field during the Bills game but later returned.
Check out the best snaps from Wednesday's practice, where the players were wearing hats and Ronnie Hillman was back on the field.
With so many players sidelined and six others limited, Fox opted to have his players practice without helmets and pads for the 90-minute session.
Having a week without a padded practice is typical at this time of year, because NFL rules permit 14 padded practices per season -- 11 of which must come in the first 11 weeks of the season. But going without helmets entirely is unusual.
"I think we needed it," Fox said. "It's a point in the season where you want guys fresh. Their health and restoration off of a long season is most important."
"We're going to need to be energized, especially on the road in San Diego. We had an early bye. So a lot of reasons, but I thought their focus was great today. We had a very good practice."
Although Welker did not practice, he emphasized that the no-pads, no-helmet session was not a time to coast.
"It's not a day off or anything like that," he said. "It's still work and doing what we need to do to get back out there on the field and be at our best."
Joining Anderson, Welker and Thomas in missing practice were running back Montee Ball (groin), safety Quinton Carter (knee), offensive tackle Paul Cornick (sprained toe), wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion) and tight end Jacob Tamme (ribs).
Six players were limited: safety David Bruton (groin), running backs Ronnie Hillman (foot) and Juwan Thompson (knee), defensive lineman Malik Jackson (knee), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder).
It was the first practice work for Hillman and Webster since they suffered foot and shoulder injuries, respectively, last month. Both worked with the team's strength and conditioning coaches during practice last week.
Thomas said this has been "a much better week for me" than recent weeks, in which he also worked on a limited basis but did not play in the game. Thomas was active against Buffalo, but did not see any action and watched with his helmet off from the sideline.
"[I'm] just trying to get back out there and trying to make sure it's right," he said. "Working out before the game, I was starting to feel better than I had the previous weeks."
Thomas added he could have played "if they needed me."
"I would have been able to go in there and spell somebody for a little bit," he said.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan remains on the injured reserve list, but said he felt "good" after practicing Wednesday. He's worked on the scout team the last two weeks as the Broncos ease him back into playing shape after he sat out the last eight games because of a crack above his knee.
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