By Rich Kurtzman
Considering it’s Week 3 of the NFL season, both the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are looking healthy and in good form.
The Denver Broncos saw a welcomed face on the practice field this week in Chris Harris, starting nickelback, who will be able to play this Sunday.
Harris played valiantly in Denver’s Week One win over the Steelers, but he rolled an ankle in the fourth quarter and was unable to play against Atlanta last Monday. He returned to the practice field on Tuesday, at least to participate in stretches, while he was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. Harris is listed as questionable and he said he’ll be playing this week, which is a boost to the Broncos’ secondary as he’s the third best corner on the team.
Another blow to the Broncos’ secondary is Quinton Carter’s knee injury. Besides Harris, he was the only Denver player that was limited in practice on Friday, though the backup safety is listed as probable.
Overall, they’re quite healthy, with Chris Kuper as the only Broncos’ player listed as out. Kuper is still attempting to get all the way back from a broken forearm that dates back to mid-August, and Kuper, named a team captain despite his injury, has been missed. Manny Ramirez has played decently but no where near Kuper’s high level, even allowing a sack on Peyton Manning last Monday. Denver’s hopeful Kuper can play next Sunday, but he could still be another week away from game ready.
Joel Dreessen (ribs), Von Miller (hip), Tracy Porter (neck) and Brandon Stokley (shoulder) are all also listed, but all as probable. It’s great news for Broncos fans, as each player is vastly important. Dreessen is the second tight end, and while he’s only caught three passes, he gives the team a starting-caliber player as the backup. Von Miller is Denver’s sack artist—fast and ferocious—while Porter is the starting cornerback that was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Pittsburgh win. And Stokley is one of Manning’s top targets, his go-to guy in crucial situations.
The Texans’ injury report looks very similar, with starting linebacker Tim Dobbins the only questionable player listed. Bradie James, an eight-year starter formerly of the Cowboys will get the start.
A whopping 11 other players are also listed, every one of them as probable.
The most noteworthy is Brian Cushing (ribs), the Houston linebacker superstar that does anything and everything the team needs on the field. He’s leading the team with nine tackles, while defending a pass, intercepting a ball and forcing a fumble as well. Outside linebackers Connor Barwin (elbow) and Reed Brooks (hip) are listed as probable, with Brooks being only a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday.
For the No. 1 defense in the league, missing one—let alone all three—linebackers would be a big blow, though, it’s more likely all three will play Sunday.
The Broncos (1-1) host the unbeaten Texans (2-0) Sunday at 2 p.m. at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.