By Rich Kurtzman
Throughout the last two months, two themes have surrounded the Denver Broncos: being healthy and winning games.
Denver has gone 3-1 in their last four games, emerging as a serious championship contender, and much of that has to be attributed to their health. The Broncos got back to the practice field Wednesday and all 53 players were suited up in full pads for the fourth straight week.
That included Tracy Porter, the starting cornerback that has missed the last two games due to a mysterious illness, who participated in some, but not all, drills. It was initially said that Porter had dizziness and came out last week that the fifth-year Pro Bowler was dealing with seizures, a serious problem indeed. He’s continuing to show symptoms of those seizures and it’s unknown if he will be able to play this week against Cincinnati and their potent passing attack.
Of course, Chris Harris and Tony Carter have each stepped up in huge ways the last two weeks, helping Denver’s defense shut down the high-powered passing attacks of San Diego and New Orleans. If Porter can’t play for a third straight game, the Broncos’ secondary should still be strong. They’ll have to be considering they’ll be going against one of the most explosive receivers and playmakers in the NFL today in A.J. Green. Green has already caught 44 passes for 636 yards and seven touchdowns, making him the biggest threat the Bengals’ offense poses.
And while Denver’s almost completely healthy, there was another injury—albeit minor—bugging another one of their star players. According to AP writer Arnie Stapleton, quarterback Peyton Manning was wearing tape on his right thumb during practice. Manning hit his throwing hand on a Saints defender’s helmet during Denver’s 34-14 drubbing of New Orleans on Sunday Night Football, which resulted in a cracked thumbnail and bleeding. It was a bit worrisome for Broncos’ fans, considering a quarterback must be able to grip the football to throw it accurately and with force. Following practice Wednesday Manning told the media, “It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s sore, but it’s more of irritant than anything.” Manning’s no quitter, as his coming back from four neck surgeries proves, and he’ll fight through this thumb injury especially considering his Broncos are leading the AFC West and looking to do damage in the playoffs once they get in.
The three other Broncos listed on Wednesday’s injury report—Mike Adams (knee), Chris Kuper (forearm) and Jacob Tamme (hip)—were all full participants and expected to play this Sunday morning in Cincinnati. It’s good news for Denver because each are key players. Adams, a starting safety, will have his hands full defending the pass. Kuper is the team’s best offensive lineman and they’ve certainly seen an improvement on the line since his return. And Tamme is a valuable pass-catching tight end for Manning to go to on third downs.
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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.