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With Week 9 on the horizon for the Denver Broncos against Peyton Manning’s former squad, the Indianapolis Colts, the orange and blue will be playing without linebacker Shane Ray and left tackle Ty Sambrailo.
Sambrailo’s rookie campaign came to an abrupt end Monday. Head coach, Gary Kubiak, told the media that Denver’s starting left tackle will need season ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, suffered Week 3 in Detroit. Sambrailo has already missed the last four weeks of the 2015 season and is not sure when the surgery will happen; Denver is expecting four to six months of recovery. With Sambrailo out, Denver will start Ryan Harris at left tackle, rotating in Tyler Polumbus, with Michael Schofield at right tackle.
Placing Sambrailo on injured reserve made room on the depth chart for newly acquired tight end, Vernon Davis. Davis is expected to play this Sunday but to what extent in the offense is unknown.
Shane Ray was ruled out for the 2:25 p.m. MT start in Indy after suffering a sprained MCL in Cleveland three weeks ago, a game Denver won in OT, 26-23. Kubiak was straight to the point when asked on Friday about the status of Ray. “We’re ruling out, obviously, Shane Ray.” It could be three or more weeks until Ray hits the field again.
Running back Ronnie Hillman is listed as questionable for Sunday’s match-up after suffering a thigh injury at practice Thursday, but it does not look serious.
“No doubt, he definitely would start. I think he’s going to be fine. He looked a lot better today than he did yesterday.” Kubiak stated Friday. “I think he’s just sore coming off of it. He’s had a couple of good days here to work on it, so I think he’ll be okay.”
Denver will also be without wide receiver, Jordan Norwood, who is battling a hamstring injury. Also, Norwood welcomed the birth of his daughter this week, Franni Grace Norwood.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive end DeMarcus Ware are both listed as probable after dealing with shoulder and back issues, respectively. Both players will go Sunday and Sanders will continue to return punts. Kubiak stated, “Yeah, he’ll continue to do it.”
Also listed as probable was Shaquil Barrett, the second-year phenom who is performing at a stupendous level. Barrett missed Thursday’s practice with a toe injury but returned Friday and is expected to play. He’s racked up 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this season already and has been a boost to Denver’s depth at pass-rushing OLB.
This game, like many others, is paramount when it comes to the playoff standings for the Broncos. Both the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals are undefeated; the latter going 8-0 after a Thursday night beat down of the Browns. Andrew Luck and the Colts are struggling this season; Denver should be able to pull out the victory, even with the injuries.