The Denver Broncos enter the playoffs as healthy as they have been all season. When head coach, John Fox released the injury report on Wednesday following practice; there was only one player who did not practice. That player was Tracy Porter and with all due respect to Porter; he hasn’t played meaningful minutes since September. Everyone else on the injury report was listed as full participants in practice; if you are unfamiliar with the term full participant, it simply means that the player is very likely to play.
The biggest two names on that report are left tackle Ryan Clady and guard Chris Kuper. There was some nervousness surrounding Clady because he did not practice at all during the off week, but he is fine and will start on Saturday. Clady has a minor shoulder injury but had there been a game last week he would have been able to play.
The best news is Kuper who has been in and out of the lineup all season; he’s as healthy as he’s been all year. The offensive line for the Broncos has been excellent all season but they are a much better unit with Kuper. With Kuper in the lineup; the Broncos have only given up two sacks and when Peyton Manning is upright, the Broncos offense is almost impossible to stop. The Broncos were smart with Kuper because he probably could have played in the last two games of the regular season, but they decided to let him rest and fully heal.
Kick/punt returner Trindon Holliday also returned to practice after suffering an ankle injury late in the season. Holliday can be a difference maker, but he must secure the ball before anything else. Turnovers are always a key but they are even bigger in the playoffs. The Broncos will use Holliday in spots but don’t be surprised if they put Jim Leonhard or even Eric Decker back there if they need to make sure the ball is caught.
The other injury of note is running back, Willis McGahee who has been out since November with a serious knee injury. McGahee is practicing again but he is not eligible to come off of the injured reserve until next week if the Broncos advance to the AFC Championship Game. The good news for McGahee and the Broncos is that he is practicing this week.
The Broncos are playing well, they are motivated and now they are as healthy as any team can be at this point in the season. Let the playoffs begin.
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