By Rich Kurtzman
The Denver Broncos are coming down the home stretch of this 2012 season, so it’s no surprise that some players are unable to give it their full go.
Chris Kuper, Tracy Porter and Trindon Holliday all sat out of practice Wednesday—which took place outside in the cold—and each of their returns to the football field the week against the Kansas City Chiefs are in doubt.
Kuper’s been the most unlucky Broncos player in terms of injuries all year. First a fractured forearm kept him out of games. When he returned, he sprained an ankle a few weeks later, and that same ankle has been a nagging injury for weeks now. It’s kept him out of three straight games—along with migraine headaches head coach John Fox explained last week—and it doesn’t seem likely Kuper will be able to come back for this final regular season game against the Chiefs. Kuper worked with a trainer during practice Wednesday, meaning Manny Ramirez will again get the start at right guard. Ramirez has looked lost on many plays, missing blocks and allowing rushers through the line to hurry Peyton Manning and everyone has to work together to sure that hole up.
Porter’s been battling injuries all season long too, finally making his return last week only to be knocked out of the game almost immediately. The cornerback has suffered from seizure-like symptoms, which made it even more scary to see him hit in the head and drop limp during the first quarter of the Broncos’ blowout of Cleveland last Sunday. He couldn’t come back into that game, and with him sitting out of practice Wednesday, he probably won’t play this week either. Chris Harris has stepped up into that starting role well though, so he and Tony Carter are likely taking reps with the starters this week.
Also out Wednesday was return specialist Trindon Holliday. Holliday has been special—in both good and bad ways—this season for the Broncos. He’s returned one punt and one kickoff for a touchdown each, and given Denver great field position many times throughout the year. But, Holliday’s also fumbled six times—losing one—so it’s never a sure thing that he’ll catch the ball when he’s back deep. Holliday sat out due to an injured ankle according to CBS’ Andrew Mason, and for a return man that makes his money by out-running opponents, it’s uncertain if he’ll get to go against Kansas City this Sunday afternoon.
“I think the bottom line, I mentioned it yesterday, it’s all about winning,” head coach John Fox said of mistakes during games Wednesday after practice. “You strive for perfection but they’re never perfect…But at the end of the day you learn from it and move on. We’re getting ready for Kansas City.”
“I think they’re even better, to tell you the truth,” Manning said of the Chiefs compared to their Week 12 contest. “It looks like they’ve got a couple of guys healthy that were a little dinged up last time. Their record is different than what their defense puts out there…They’re active on defense, they can cover well, Berry’s looking good, Johnson’s all over the field and they get after the passer with four.”
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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.