Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams out for season, LB Randy Gregory to miss several weeks

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos’ loss to the Vegas Raiders on Sunday came at a staggering price, with running back Javonte Williams missing the rest of the season and outside linebacker Randy Gregory missing several weeks, both due to knee injuries

Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Monday that had the team practiced, quarterback Russell Wilson (right shoulder) would have been limited. The Broncos, who play Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts, released an injury report with projections of player involvement if the team had been on the field.

Hackett said he expects Wilson to play against the Colts.

“He got hit in the game, he’s just a little sore,” Hackett said. “… Right now, he is playing.”

Williams’ injury will have a significant impact on the team’s offense. Sources said Monday that Williams tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and LCL (lateral collateral ligament) in his right knee. Hackett did not provide details of Williams’ injury, but said he will miss the rest of the season.

“Losing Javonte is very important, (he is) a dynamic player in this league,” Hackett said.

Gregory will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in the next few days, Hackett said, adding that “the ACL is fine, now we’ll have the endoscope and get more information.” Gregory is expected to have his meniscus trimmed. in the knee and the joint will be re-examined during surgery, sources told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report.

Both Williams and Gregory underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests Monday morning.

Gregory, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal this offseason, is expected to miss two to six weeks depending on his recovery, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and Hackett said Monday that he has not yet been confirmed. has made a decision about putting Gregory on injured reserve.

A move to injured reserve would mean Gregory would miss a minimum of four games.

Williams suffered his injury on the first play of the second half for the Broncos in Sunday’s 32-23 loss. Williams, who entered the game leading the Broncos in carries and rushing yards, stayed on the field after a 1-yard loss.

Broncos medical staff checked out his right knee before he was helped to the injured tent on the Broncos sideline. Williams couldn’t put his full weight on his leg as he was helped away. A few minutes later he was wheeled into the Broncos’ locker room on a cart and ruled out for the rest of the game.

The sophomore running back walked out of the Broncos’ locker room at Allegiant Stadium on crutches as some of his teammates cheered him on.

Mike Boone replaced Williams in the Broncos’ lineup just after Williams went down. Melvin Gordon III had split time with Williams in the first three games of the season, but Gordon fumbled in the second quarter and the Raiders’ Amik Robertson returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.

It was Gordon’s fourth fumble of the season — the Broncos have lost two of them. Gordon got just two extra carries in Sunday’s game.

“We’re going to have to disperse (the workload) among the guys that we’re going to have out there, who’s ever going to be out there is going to have to do the best job they can,” Hackett said. we want to make sure we put them on display.”

Asked about his confidence in Gordon given Gordon’s struggles with ball security, Hackett said, “Melvin is a true professional, this is a guy that’s been doing this for a long time,” Hackett said. “…He knows there was a mishap right there and it’s a great opportunity for him to get back on the field and prove himself.

“… He’s handling the ball really well, he’s running downhill, he’s exploding down the hole,” Hackett added. “We want that to continue, like I said, he’s a true professional and I hope he steps up and has a great game.”

A second-round pick by the Broncos in the 2021 draft, Williams came into the game with 175 yards on 37 carries through the first three weeks of the season and was the Broncos’ second-leading receiver with 15 receptions in those three games. He had 28 yards on 10 carries on Sunday before his injury.

“I have to (get well) for the team,” Gordon said Sunday night. it just has to be better.”

The Broncos plan to sign RB Latavius ​​Murray off the Saints’ practice squad, though Murray is unlikely to play this Thursday against the Colts, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Hackett said Monday that the team has a learning platform for new players to acclimate to the Broncos’ schemes “so they can start learning the system like it’s the first day.”

“From a running back standpoint, any time you bring someone in, it’s always hard for them to hook up with everything,” Hackett said.

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