ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There is a “good possibility” that the Broncos will place defensive end Derek Wolfe on injured reserve after Wolfe suffered a dislocated elbow on Sunday against the Chargers, Head Coach Vic Fangio announced Monday.
“Right now, it’s not official, but I don’t know [that] he’ll be able to play again this year,” Fangio said. “I don’t think it needs surgery, but he did dislocate his elbow and the time involved with that healing and where we’re at in the season probably precludes him from playing anymore.”
The Broncos have four games remaining in the regular season and although they have not been eliminated from playoff contention, they remain a long shot to advance to the postseason.
Wolfe suffered his injury on a fourth-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter when his elbow collided with Mike Purcell’s leg.
The officials called a false start on the Chargers on the play, but the play did not immediately end as it was whistled dead.
“When you get a fourth-and-1 situation at that point in the game and you’re home, there’s a lot of crowd noise,” Fangio said. “To the defense of both teams, sometimes you don’t hear those whistles.”
Wolfe, who recorded two sacks on Sunday, finished with a career-high seven sacks in 2019.
“He was just solid,” Fangio said of Wolfe’s play. “[He] played good. He was where he was supposed to be with the right mindset. He played physical. I don’t know this for sure — you guys probably do — I think he had a career high in sacks, which for a guy at the stage of his career speaks to his resiliency and the work that he’s put in [and] the effort he was playing with.”
- The Broncos could get back another long-tenured defensive player in Week 14 against the Texans.
Von Miller, who missed Sunday’s game against the Browns with a knee injury, could return as early as this weekend.
“I haven’t gotten any update yet today, but I do think there’s a good chance he’ll be able to go this week,” Fangio said. “He just didn’t think — and I agreed with him — that he would’ve been effective [on Sunday]. I think it would’ve been playing on his mind too much. He tried hard. We went out there and spoke to the trainers — and these trainers [have known] him for a long time. They agreed with him.”
- Linebacker Alexander Johnson (knee) played all 66 snaps and recorded nine tackles and two tackles for loss after missing two practices ahead of the game. Johnson was officially listed as questionable.
“[I’m] very impressed that he battled through,” Fangio said. “He didn’t play quite as good as he had then, but he was out there battling. By no means was he even close to 100 percent, and you saw it on some plays where he was reluctant to stick his foot in the ground and it contributed to him getting blocked sometimes. Overall, he battled through it and played well.”
- Offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James was a full participant in practice ahead of the Broncos’ win over the Chargers, but he was listed as questionable and did not play.
“Yeah, we expect him to be ready to play this week,” said Fangio on Monday when asked if frustration existed because James has not returned.
James has appeared in two games this season and has not played since reaggravating his knee injury in Week 8.
If James plays, he would start on the right side of the line but would not play the entire game.
“That would be unrealistic to expect him to go play 60, 70 plays,” Fangio said. “So there [will be] some type of in and out [rotation] there.”