ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Champ Bailey says he has a milder form of the foot injury that ended fellow Pro Bowler Ryan Clady’s season.
“I know it’s very similar, and I think his was just more severe,” Bailey said Friday. “I can come back from mine. As you can tell, I’ve been practicing, so I’m a lot closer than what he would have been after this amount of time. And he requires surgery. So, I know he’s got a long road, but I know he’ll be back to normal next year.”
Bailey returned to practice this week for the first time since spraining his left foot at Seattle in an exhibition game Aug. 17.
“I feel pretty good. I’m not all the way there yet but definitely close, very close,” he said.
He hopes to play Monday night when the Denver Broncos (2-0) host the Oakland Raiders (1-1). “If I keep progressing like I am and having days like this, successful days, I’ll be ready,” Bailey said.
Clady will undergo surgery Saturday to repair his injured left foot. Clady sustained what’s called a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves a separation of ligaments and joints in the foot and requires an arduous rehab after a minimum of six weeks in a cast.
Bailey initially feared a season-ending injury, or at least one that would sideline him for several months.
“Well, that always creeps in your head about how bad it could be, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the good thing is I can play this year. And barring any setbacks, I’ll be out there as soon as possible,” Bailey said.
Bailey missed the Broncos’ first two games, only the fourth time in his 15-year career that he’s missed consecutive games.
The Broncos, who are also playing without suspended All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, didn’t miss Bailey in their deep secondary in blowouts of the Ravens and Giants.
“I couldn’t ask them to play any better,” Bailey said. “All the corners have picks, Rahim (Moore) has a pick. They’ve played great, and that’s what I expect because that’s what I’ve seen them do over these last few months and anything different would be a disappointment.”
Notes: TE Jacob Tamme was excused from practice for personal reasons. Coach John Fox said he’ll be back Saturday when the Broncos wrap up preparations for the Raiders.
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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