ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A week after losing one key player to a season-ending injury, the Broncos suffered two more devastating injuries during their Week 5 loss to the Colts, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett announced Friday.
Left tackle Garett Bolles and cornerback Ronald Darby will both miss the rest of the 2022 season, Hackett said. Bolles was carted off the field after a leg injury late in the game, and Darby exited the game before halftime with a knee injury.
"Garett Bolles, he'll need surgery," Hackett said. "He'll be out for the season. And Darby has an ACL. He will also be out for the season."
To this point, Bolles had appeared and started in 82 of a possible 86 games since entering the league in 2017. After the injury to the 2020 second-team All-Pro left tackle, the Broncos replaced him in the lineup with fourth-year veteran Calvin Anderson.
However, the team is still working through its options before deciding on who will replace Bolles as the new starter, Hackett said.
"[W]e just kind of found out all the information, so we're going to sit down as an offensive staff and decide what we think is best for the team," Hackett said.
The Broncos did have veteran lineman Billy Turner active for his first game of the season as he recovers from a knee injury, but Turner did not play.
"Billy definitely could have gone yesterday," Hackett said. "We didn't play him; we were still trying to give him a little bit more time, but he was available to be able to go. I think he'll be able to play at a high level."
At cornerback, the Broncos will have to shuffle their combination of veterans and young players to fill in for Darby's veteran presence. In Thursday's game, K'Waun Williams played 84 percent of the defensive snaps and rookie Damarri Mathis played 59 percent. Essang Bassey and Darius Phillips are also veteran reserve options. Third-year player Michael Ojemudia could soon be a possibility, as well, if the Broncos choose to open his window to return after he missed the first five weeks of the season on injured reserve.
Hackett also provided updates on two other key players who missed time during the game.
Starting inside linebacker Josey Jewell, who was sidelined for the first two games of the season, left Thursday's game with a knee sprain and did not return, but his outlook is "week to week," Hackett said.
Outside linebacker Baron Browning, who had an impressive showing with five tackles, 1.5 sacks and six quarterback hits, exited the game late after suffering a wrist sprain. Browning will be "day to day," Hackett said.
With injuries mounting and the Broncos looking to rebound from two straight losses, Hackett said his only option is to find ways to help the team progress in spite of the adversity.
"As a coach, I can't control that," Hackett said. "I can only move forward, I can only go to the drawing board and grind and try to find ways to put people in good positions. And the new guys that are going to have to go in, we have to find a way to make those guys successful. That's our job. It crushes me, because they're such good guys and they've worked so hard. We're 2-3 right now, and it's not where we wanted to be, but that's where we are. And I feel bad for those guys that they can't be part of us, bringing us out of this. But they are going to be there for us."