By Rich Kurtzman

Say “bye bye” to injuries. The bye week brought much-needed rest for the Denver Broncos, as the grueling 16-game regular season took a toll on their bodies, just as it does on every player in the league.

On Friday, there were only two players who limited in practice: starting linebacker Brandon Marshall and backup defensive end Quanterus Smith. Smith, who injured a knee late in the season, will be held of action while Marshall is officially listed as “questionable” by the team.

Marshall is a crucial piece to the Denver defense, as the team’s leading tackler and a strong cover man in the passing game as well. Where he was missed the most is in his sure-handed wrapping up of ball-carriers, which was seen most strikingly in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16. That was when Jeremy Hill bursted around rookie Todd Davis and ran 85 yards for a touchdown. With running back Dan Herron emerging for the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck always a threat to tuck it and take off, tackling is paramount this week. Marshall is officially listed as “questionable,” but it would be surprising not to see him out there this Sunday.

Also listed as questionable is backup defensive tackle Mitch Unrein. Unrein is a valuable depth man inside but a sore knee left him out of practice on Wednesday and then limited the last two days.

While the Colts played and beat the Bengals last week, they’re also very healthy heading into the matchup against their former quarterback, Peyton Manning. Notably, five linebackers are listed, even though all are probable. It still may mean a heavier dose of C.J. Anderson and the run game than was expected before.

Here’s a look at the full reports:

Denver Broncos

Probable:

  • Safety David Bruton Jr. (concussion/back)
  • Takle Paul Cornick (toe)
  • Guard Orlando Franklin (concussion)
  • Quarterback Peyton Manning (thigh)
  • Center Will Montgomery (knee)
  • Cornerback Aqib Talib (achilles)
  • Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (ankle/finger)
  • Tight end Julius Thomas (ankle)
  • Running back Juwan Thompson (hip/knee)
  • Safety T.J. Ward (neck)
  • Cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder)

Questionable:

  • Linebacker Brandon Marshall (foot)
  • Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee)

Out:

  • Defensive end Quanterus Smith

Indianapolis Colts:

Probable:

  • Linebacker Jerrell Freeman (abdomen)
  • Center Jonotthan Harrison (concussion)
  • Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (rest)
  • Linebacker Andrew Jackson (hamstring)
  • Linebacker Henoc Muamba (back)
  • Center A.Q. Shipley (ankle)
  • Cornerback Greg Toler (knee)
  • Linebacker Erik Walden (knee)
  • Wide receiver Reggie Wayne (rest)

For more Broncos news and updates, visit Broncos Central.

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. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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