ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos left Dove Valley on Wednesday breathing easier after learning that an MRI on linebacker Danny Trevathan's knee was negative.
Trevathan, the Broncos' second-leading tackler, was injured during Wednesday's practice, casting a temporary pall over the proceedings. The injury was first reported by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer just after the Broncos concluded their two-hour session.
"It was really tough," said linebacker Steven Johnson. "When I saw Danny go down, we all walked over to him. Practice kind of came to a halt for a good three to five minutes, and we were sitting there, just kind of praying for him."
Trevathan is expected to be considered day-to-day. If he is not ready to play by Sunday, then Johnson, his backup at weakside linebacker could be thrust into an expanded role.
It's already been a memorable week for Johnson, who scored his first touchdown since his high-school days on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter last Sunday. But he didn't want attention Wednesday -- at least, not for a reason like the injury of a valued teammate.
But befitting the "next man up" ethos of the team, Johnson affirmed his readiness.
"If something happened to him, hopefully I'll step up and I won't let the team down," he said.
That was the message Johnson wanted to convey to Wesley Woodyard, the starting middle linebacker who preceded Trevathan as the first-team weakside linebacker.
"Like I told 'Wood' after practice when we were walking off the field, I was like, 'Look, man. If I get the opportunity to go in that game, I will not let you down,'" Johnson said.
Johnson said Woodyard replied by telling him, "I know you won't. I know you won't."
"That's just how I played in college: I always played with my heart and left it all out on the field," added Johnson.
Johnson has worked at all three linebacker spots at various points during practice since joining the Broncos last year. His versatility, along with his special-teams ability, have helped him solidify a roster spot the last two years in spite of being undrafted coming out of Kansas last year.
"All of us linebackers, we can all play multiple positions. So it doesn't really matter where you throw us, we can all go out there and execute," Johnson said.
And because Johnson has played so extensively on special teams -- 110 snaps through four games, tied with Omar Bolden for the best on the team -- he wouldn't be thrown into the fire without plenty of full-speed experience.
"It helps your confidence because you feel more a part of the team, you feel alive," he said. "I was just happy and thankful for the opportunity to be out there, help my team win and put some points."
And if the Broncos call on Johnson for a more extensive defensive role, he's ready if needed.
"Whatever happens, happens. I'm hoping and wishing the best for Danny," Johnson said. "I just hope that if I do get in, I can make an impact for this team."
Added linebacker Nate Irving: "From the head coach on down, it's always 'next man up, 'and you never know when your number's going to be called. So, you have to stay ready and be ready for when that chance comes, to take full advantage of it."