ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)Russell Wilson stretched for a bit and threw a few passes during individual drills ahead of the Denver Broncos’ practice Wednesday as he works his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Wilson sustained a head injury Sunday when the veteran quarterback dived head-first for the goal line after scrambling for a 14-yard gain. He was replaced by backup Brett Rypien in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 34-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rypien would get his second start of the season Sunday if Wilson is sidelined against Arizona (4-9). The Cardinals lost their starting QB, Kyler Murray, to a torn ACL on Monday night against the New England Patriots. He was replaced by backup Colt McCoy, who will start Sunday at Denver (3-10).
Wilson missed a game earlier this season with a hamstring injury, only the fourth game he’s missed in his 11-year NFL career.
There’s a possibility he could clear the concussion protocol and still be held out by the Broncos, who have already been eliminated from the playoffs for a seventh straight season.
”In the end, his safety is what matters most to us,” first-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. ”We want to be sure that we’re taking care of him and his well-being, and we’re doing what’s right for Russell. It always starts right away with the medical department. We’ve got a really good medical department, independent neurologists.
”We’re going to be sure we’re in constant communication with them. He’s being monitored by everybody. We’ll go from there. We’ll talk with him and it will be an organizational decision.”
Wilson’s transition to the Broncos has been rough. He’s thrown for 11 touchdowns in 12 games and has been sacked 43 times behind a patchwork offensive line after signing a five-year, $245 million extension before the season.
In other injury news, defensive end Randy Gregory returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Week 4.
”It’ll be exciting to have him back out there,” Hackett said. ”It’s hard to replace a guy like that. He’s a presence.”
Safety Justin Simmons said Gregory’s return provides an enormous boost.
”I’m excited to be able to play with him again,” said Simmons, who only played in the season opener with Gregory before missing a month himself. ”I like to call those type of guys `game-wreckers.’ Run game, pass game, he goes in there and just messes everything up.”
NOTES: OLB Jake Martin, acquired from the Jets to fill the void left by Bradley Chubb’s trade to the Miami Dolphins, is done for the year with a knee injury. He is under contract through 2023 and said he hopes for a longer stay in Denver. … The Broncos announced plans for a $100 million upgrade to Empower Field at Mile High. It will include videoboard improvements, along with concessions and premium hospitality areas. … WRs Kendall Hinton and Courtland Sutton didn’t practice Wednesday due to hamstring injuries. DE Dre’Mont Jones also didn’t practice with a hip ailment.
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