ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Every team's No. 1 goal for its offseason work is to emerge unscathed. That won't happen for the Broncos in 2015.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman, the Broncos' third-round pick, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Saturday afternoon rookie camp practice in the Broncos' fieldhouse.
He is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.
Heuerman suffered the injury during the special-teams period of practice. He was running full speed down the middle of the field when he made a cut and his knee gave way.
A cart took Heuerman off the field, and a subsequent examination confirmed the worst fears of the rookie and the team.
"I feel terrible for Jeff and this is a very unfortunate situation," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "Jeff was going to be a big part of our team this year, and he's still going to be a big part of our team and organization in the future.
"He'll get well and be with us as part of this team throughout his rehabilitation."
The injury dealt a blow to the Broncos' hopes of having a young tight end to complement an experienced group led by Owen Daniels, Virgil Green and James Casey. A greater burden will be placed on big blocker Dominique Jones and March signee Joe Don Duncan to develop and provide depth behind the veteran trio.
Heuerman remains in the Broncos' long-term plans, as Kubiak noted, and is expected to make a full recovery. But for now the Broncos will have to make do without him, and his projected on-field development will go on hold.