ENGLEWOOD, Colo.– Two days into training camp and the Denver Broncos have already had their second player suffer a significant injury, as linebacker Shane Ray tore a ligament in his left wrist and will miss six to eight weeks.
Running back Devontae Booker had surgery to repair a fracture in his left wrist Friday morning and will miss six weeks. Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Friday that Ray will have surgery Saturday morning.
“He will have surgery (Saturday) 8 a.m.,” Joseph said after the Broncos’ walk-through. ” … I’m disappointed again for the player more than us. He’s worked so hard also, and he’s making strides to have a great year.”
Ray injured the wrist in Thursday’s practice, as he tried to shed a block during the Broncos’ first full practice of training camp, and he then fell on the wrist again in Friday’s practice, but Joseph said Ray had a brace on the wrist and continued to feel discomfort after the workout. An exam revealed the torn ligament and Ray did not participate in the Broncos’ walk-through early Friday evening.
“He was sore and wore a brace in practice (Friday), but the (tests) showed the ligament was torn,” Joseph said.
Ray, who finished with eight sacks last season, is poised for a breakout year in the Broncos defense as he was immediately elevated into the starting lineup almost from the moment DeMarcus Ware retired earlier this year. Ray was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2015. He started eight games for an injured Ware last season, including a three-sack game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller has said, “Shane’s been ready to start, he’s ready to show everybody what he can do.”
It comes at a time when the Broncos are already thin at the position, as outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is out with a hip injury. Barrett is on the Non-Football Injury list and has not practiced in training camp.
The Broncos are hoping Barrett can be ready at some point in the first two weeks of the regular season, as Ray will miss the start of the regular season. An eight-week recovery would put Ray’s return somewhere around the Broncos’ Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys and the Week 3 game at the Buffalo Bills.
“We should get a nice Christmas bonus in the first two weeks of the season, a nice boost,” Joseph said. “As a 34 front defensive football team, you want to have rushers, you want to have at least three. Again, we don’t play for a month and half – the real football games. We have time to figure it out.”
With two players already on the PUP list — Booker and defensive end Kyle Peko (foot) — to go with the Broncos already signing running back Stevan Ridley Thursday, Denver doesn’t have much wiggle room on their 90-player roster because players designated as PUP count against the total.
Joseph said he would meet with president of football operations/manager John Elway to see if adding another pass rusher is an option. The Broncos signed outside linebacker Kasim Edebali in free agency and Edebali will get plenty of additional work in the weeks ahead.