Running back competition.
With second-year pro Devontae Booker injured and veteran Jamaal Charles limited, the position is open for business.
Broncos running back Devontae Booker will undergo surgery Friday to repair a fracture in his wrist and is expected to miss at least six weeks. For depth during training camp and the preseason, the Broncos signed former Jets and Patriots running back Stevan Ridley to a one-year contract.
Booker said he will have a screw inserted in his wrist to stabilize the bone, and he will be placed on the Broncos’ physically unable to perform (PUP) list. His training camp and preseason are over before it began, but he could be back in time for Week 1, if not sooner. (He can come off the PUP list at any time before the start of the season but cannot go back on once he practices.)
“It all happened probably the last week of OTAs, and I didn’t know it was a real bad injury,” Booker told The Denver Post. “I just thought I sprained my wrist. The swelling went down before I went home. When I was back home doing summer training, lifting weights and stuff, certain of range of motion, like if I was doing push-ups or bench press, I had to limit my weight on that stuff. As soon as I got back here, they X-rayed it (and) found it in the X-ray.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll be back. Good spirits will help it heal quicker.”
Last season, Booker led Denver’s backs in the wake of C.J. Anderson’s knee injury, totaling 174 carries, 612 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. His loss for the next month and a half creates additional opportunities for rookie De’Angelo Henderson and veteran Juwan Thompson — and now Ridley too.
After the Broncos’ morning practice at camp, Ridley worked out for head coach Vance Joseph, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and running backs coach Eric Studesville in the team’s fieldhouse. The Broncos signed him shortly after, adding another veteran to the already-crowded running backs room.
Ridley was drafted by the Patriots out of LSU in 2011 and spent four years with New England, topping 1,200 rushing yards in 2012. In 2014, his final season with the club, Ridley tore multiple ligaments in his knee and was placed on seasonending injured reserve for the team’s Super Bowl XLIX run.
Ridley signed with the Jets in 2015 and played eight games after recovering from knee surgery, totaling 90 yards on 36 carries. Over the last three years, he has bounced from five different teams following his injury and has played in only 15 games. In his six NFL seasons, he has averaged 47.8 yards per game and totaled 22 rushing touchdowns.
To clear a roster spot for Ridley, the Broncos waived guard Chris Muller.