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Secondary battles health concerns as Broncos turn to Week 16

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who has rehabbed a fractured fibula since suffering the injury on Dec. 2 in hopes of a late-season return, could be headed to injured reserve.

“We’ll see,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said Monday. “That’s very possible. He’s got about two more weeks of healing, we’ve got two more games to go, so that’s very possible he goes to IR.”

Harris remained confident after the injury that he could return for either Week 17 or the playoffs. The Broncos, though, were eliminated Sunday after several teams ahead of Denver in the standings won games.

As a result, the Broncos may want to fill the roster spot and let Harris focus on preparing for next season.

Harris tied a career high in interceptions during the 12 games in which he played. He returned one of those picks for a touchdown in Week 7 against Arizona. He is the only player in the NFL to record multiple interceptions in each of the last seven seasons.

The Broncos could, though, get some defensive help as they prepare for the Raiders.

Joseph said he’s hopeful cornerback Isaac Yiadom and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett could both be back for “Monday Night Football.”

“I’m hoping, yes,” Joseph said. “Especially for Shaq. Obviously Shaq wants to get out there and prove his worth. He’s got two more games. And Yiadom’s made a lot of improvement, so he wants to play also.”

The Broncos’ current No. 1 cornerback, Bradley Roby, is dealing with soreness after suffering a cut on his lip against the Browns.

Joseph did not say anything to suggest Roby’s status would be in doubt for Monday.

Cornerback Brendan Langley must clear concussion protocol to be available against the Raiders.

“He’s day to day,” Joseph said. “We’ll see how he feels on Wednesday or Thursday, but right now he’s in the protocol.”

Without Harris, Roby, Yiadom, Langley and Jamar Taylor — who was disqualified Sunday after an official ruled that he threw a punch — the Broncos played a portion of Sunday’s game with only one cornerback.

Joseph said he’s never been in that situation as a coach.

“Never happened before, but we made it through about a quarter with [safety] Justin [Simmons] playing some base corner and [safety Dymonte] Thomas playing some sub-corner,” Joseph said. “That’s never happened to me before in any game I’ve ever coached in. But it happened Saturday. First time for everything, right?”

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