By Romi Bean

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– When Emmanuel Sanders went down in Wednesday’s practice, it looked bad from the start. As he fell to the ground, Sanders immediately grabbed the back of his left ankle.

As he was taken off the field by trainers, he was unable to bear any weight on his left leg. Losing Emmanuel Sanders is unimaginable – and as #10 hobbled off the field, players couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing.

broncos 12052018 25 1pm to 330pm frame 10115 Hard To Watch: Broncos Players React To Emmanuel Sanders Season Ending Injury

Vance Joseph (credit: CBS)

“He was our leader, he was our coach too, so it was hard to watch,” said rookie receiver Tim Patrick.

“Everybody really loves E. I felt really bad for him when he went down. He’s been such a great leader for us all season,” said rookie draft pick Dae’Sean Hamilton.

What’s worse is Sanders’ injury comes just days after the Broncos lost Chris Harris Jr. to a fractured fibula. So the Broncos have to finish the year without two of their most veteran, most talented players, but the Broncos backups are prepared, because they have to be.

emmanuel sanders1 Hard To Watch: Broncos Players React To Emmanuel Sanders Season Ending Injury

GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 18: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos reacts after scoring a 64-yard touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 18, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“We’re going to miss Strap, he’s our leader in the secondary. But it’s next man up mentality. Chris is down, time to step up. We’re ready for things like that to happen,” said safety Su’a Cravens.

“When you see someone go down it sucks, but each person that’s been hurt will tell you the person replacing them has to do their job, because if they don’t the team suffers,” said Courtland Sutton.

harris jr Hard To Watch: Broncos Players React To Emmanuel Sanders Season Ending Injury

Chris Harris, Jr. carted off the field against the Bengals. (credit: CBS)

The Broncos have lost five key offensive starters to injury this year, and traded a sixth in Demaryius Thomas. For a team that likely needs to win out to keep their postseason hopes alive, losing their top receiver and top corner in the same week is about as bad as it gets.

Romi Bean is a sports anchor and reporter at CBS4. Connect with Romi on Twitter @Romi_Bean.

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