ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In his first two practices after recovering from his dual hip surgeries at the beginning of the year, Jordan Taylor has learned to appreciate the little things.
For example, catching more than 50 punts after each practice became a monotonous task in 2017. In 2018, catching any in Monday's and Tuesday's practices was a thrill.
"During the season last year, at the end of practice, catching 50, 60 punts after practice — it got old after a while," Taylor said, "but being out there just then catching punts, going through some of practice, it feels good to back on the field."
Since the surgery, Taylor suffered a setback in his recovery a few months ago, delaying his expected return to the field to the point that the Broncos had to put him on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp and then to start the season. But after a lot of patience, Taylor was able to take the field Monday evening, though there are still some limitations to the extent he can practice.
"Technically not 100 percent, fully able to go out there and compete in the full one-on-one drills and so on, but as far as especially this week, it's a pretty good week for me to get going," Taylor said. "We kind of have lighter practices since it's a short week. So, jog-throughs, walkthroughs, I'm able to do all that. It really worked out for me, having this week right now."
Taylor and the Broncos now have three weeks to evaluate his status before determining whether he's healthy enough to be activated from the PUP list or if he will be placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
The first few days, and Tuesday in particular, have been a period of adjustment after dealing with the injury for so long, but Taylor said that as practice went on, he became more comfortable and didn't think too much about his hip injury.
"Today was really the first day I've gotten out there against the guys," Taylor said. "So I was thinking about it a little bit, but as practice went on, I was getting a little more loose, I kind of felt myself not really thinking about it and just running around like I used to. That's what I'm trying to get back to and keep that mindset."
Physically, the biggest challenge for Taylor might be getting his conditioning level up to "football shape." In the meantime, he's happy to huff and puff as long as it means he can be back on the field with the team.
"Obviously just being able to lift with the guys, get out there on the field with the guys, it's what I've been waiting to do these past nine months or however long it's been," he said. "So it's good to be back out there."
Photos from the Broncos' week of preparation for their Thursday-night game against the Cardinals.