Booker to un­dergo surgery.

The Den­ver run­ning back will have surgery Fri­day to re­pair a frac­ture in his wrist and will miss at least six weeks.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Kos­mider

Ja­maal Charles bowled the foot­ball across the turf, its ob­long ends bounc­ing along the damp grass.

Devon­tae Booker, wear­ing a Tshirt and shorts, scooped up the ball and then fired a spi­ral back to Charles. Catch­ing the ball is off lim­its for Booker as he pre­pares for surgery Fri­day on a frac­tured wrist, but this makeshift ver­sion of catch helped him stay close to the ac­tion as the Bron­cos opened train­ing camp Thurs­day morn­ing.

Charles, who prac­ticed with a bulky brace over his right knee, was lim­ited dur­ing the open­ing day of train­ing camp. The plan, coach Vance Joseph said, is to bring the for­mer Kansas City Chiefs star along slowly, though Charles has been fully cleared in his re­turn from mul­ti­ple knee surg­eries last Novem­ber. Booker is ex­pected to miss six weeks with the frac­tured wrist he suf­fered late in or­ga­nized team ac­tiv­i­ties.

The run­ning back com­pe­ti­tion is open for busi­ness. Booker’s in­jury and Charles’ lim­i­ta­tions have opened the door for the rest of a group full of play­ers who be­lieve they have plenty to prove.

“I feel like it’s an open op­por­tu­nity for all of us, not just my­self,” said De’An­gelo Hen­der­son, the rookie in a run­ning back room stocked with vet­er­ans. “We’ll see what hap­pens the next few days. Hope­fully (Booker) re­cov­ers quick be­cause we need him. He’s a high tal­ent.”

It can be hard for run­ning backs to stand out in the early days of train­ing camp. An ab­sence of pads means it can be hard to get a bead on who is truly slam­ming into holes and break­ing away from would-be tack­les. Still, C.J. An­der­son was easy to spot Thurs­day, and not only be­cause he was the only player wear­ing a hoodie un­der his prac­tice jer­sey as the sun beat down on the grounds at Bron­cos head­quar­ters.

Joseph said Wed­nes­day that An­der­son is in his best shape “in three or four years,” a sen­ti­ment the run­ning back agreed with af­ter his first prac­tice. His high­lights in­cluded a tip­toe touch­down catch on a pass from Pax­ton Lynch in the cor­ner of the end zone dur­ing red zone work.

“I did some things this off­sea­son that were in­tro­duced to me, and whether I liked it or didn’t like it, I just kept go­ing with it and kept push­ing,” An­der­son said. “I didn’t do some­thing for two weeks and then stop. I just kept go­ing with it through the whole off­sea­son. I’m def­i­nitely in the best shape I’ve been in in a long time, so I’m ex­cited about that.”

An­der­son suf­fered a torn menis­cus in his knee dur­ing the Bron­cos’ Week 7 vic­tory over the Hous­ton Tex­ans last year and missed the rest of the sea­son. The in­jury came just as he was find­ing his stride and af­ter he had al­ready rushed for 107 yards and a touch­down against the Tex­ans. His off­sea­son work, he said, was de­signed with an eye on longevity.

“I got to look at it like it’s go­ing to be 16-week grind,” An­der­son said. “Don’t take it for granted. I sat back for nine weeks and re­al­ized how much I love it and how much I took a lot of this for granted think­ing, ‘You made a cou­ple plays, you’re go­ing to be around.’ Can’t do that. Got to play like ev­ery play is your last. It’s just a dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity and mind-set for my­self this year.”

An­der­son took the lead Thurs­day with Bernard Pierce, Juwan Thomp­son and Hen­der­son also see­ing their share of rep­e­ti­tions. Andy Janovich, a full­back from Ne­braska, is the other back on the team’s train­ing camp ros­ter.

“I’m try­ing to max­i­mize ev­ery­thing I get,” said Hen­der­son, a sixth-round pick from Coastal Carolina in this year’s NFL draft. “I felt like I did pretty good Day One. Hel­mets, run­ning around and get­ting the blood flow­ing, we’ll see what hap­pens when we get go­ing the next (few) days.”

An­der­son said it was a goal for the run­ning back group to stay healthy dur­ing camp. It’s a group that quickly be­came thin­ner be­cause of Booker’s in­jury. To that end, and with the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Charles — who played in a to­tal of only eight games the past two sea­sons — the Bron­cos brought vet­eran Ste­van Ri­d­ley to the fa­cil­ity for a work­out Thurs­day.

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