ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Denver Broncos wide receiver Bennie Fowler will be sidelined for several weeks after breaking a bone in his left elbow, coach Gary Kubiak said Saturday.
Fowler, the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver and a key special teams player, was injured while covering a punt during the third quarter of Denver’s 22-0 preseason win at Chicago on Thursday.
He hit the ground hard after being blocked and had to brace himself with his arm, but continued playing.
Fowler felt pain in the elbow on Friday. X-rays revealed a small fracture in the elbow.
Kubiak says “It’s going to be a few weeks. It’s disappointing. He’s really playing well, but we’ll get him back. It’s just going to take a little time.”
Fowler had three catches for 18 yards and blocked a second-quarter punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown against the Bears.
He appeared in all 19 games for Denver last season, including the final three in the postseason culminating in the Broncos’ Super Bowl victory over Carolina.
Speaking between the team’s training camp practices, Fowler said no surgery was needed.
“It’s nothing too major,” said Fowler, whose arm was wrapped and in a metal brace. “It’s just a small fracture. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. I’m not really frustrated. I still have an opportunity. I’ve just got to get healthy and once I get healthy, get back out there to pick up where I left off.”
Fowler figures prominently in the Broncos’ plans to heighten the effectiveness of their passing game. He came on strong in the second half of last season and delivered several clutch catches in the postseason, including being at the receiving end of the retired Peyton Manning’s final pass attempt, a 2-point conversion in the Super Bowl.
In Fowler’s absence, wide receiver Cody Latimer could see increased playing time in the team’s three-receiver set, which also includes starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Latimer, a second-round pick out of Indiana, also is in the midst of a strong training camp. He led the team with seven receptions for 82 yards in the preseason opener.
“It’s camp. Everybody has an opportunity,” Latimer said. “You never know what is going to happen. I just have to keep focusing on me, keep making plays and doing what I can to make this team and get out there on offense.”
NOTES: The quarterback competition among Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch remains unsettled with Kubiak saying he wasn’t ready to name a starter for Saturday night’s preseason game against the 49ers. Sanchez started in the opener and was followed by Siemian and Lynch. “We’ll keep plugging and we’ll find the right one,” Kubiak said. … Defensive end Vance Walker was held out of Saturday’s practice because of a sore back. … Nose tackle Darius Kilgo, who sustained a shoulder injury in the Chicago game, also was held out of practice. … The Broncos have an off day Sunday and resume practice on Monday.
– By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Sports Writer
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