Knee in­jury de­rails Winn

Denver de­fen­sive line takes a hit with the sea­son-end­ing loss of sixth-year pro

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nicki Jhab­vala

Bron­cos de­fen­sive line­man Billy Winn is out for the rest of the sea­son af­ter tear­ing his an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment and suf­fer­ing dam­age to other lig­a­ments in his right knee dur­ing Thurs­day night’s preseason opener at Chicago, an NFL source con­firmed.

Winn ap­peared to plant his right leg awk­wardly and got tan­gled un­der the pile on a Bears run late in the first quar­ter of the Bron­cos’ 24-17 vic­tory at Sol­dier Field. He grabbed his knee in pain and was carted off the field.

Af­ter the game, Winn hob­bled out of the sta­dium with the help of crutches. An MRI on Fri­day con­firmed the in­jury was worse than the Bron­cos ini­tially ex­pected.

A sixth-year pro, Winn joined the Bron­cos last Au­gust on a oneyear deal and played in all 16 games, fin­ish­ing with 19 tack­les and a fum­ble re­cov­ery. He re­signed with Denver in early May as part of the Bron­cos’ re­built de­fen­sive line that in­cludes new­com­ers Do­mata Peko and Zach Kerr.

The loss of Winn is the lat­est among a grow­ing list of in­jured play­ers for the Bron­cos, and it leaves them thin, es­pe­cially at nose tackle.

Winn was listed on the team’s first depth chart as the No. 2 nose tackle be­hind Peko. Kyle Peko, the team’s No. 3 nose tackle, is on the

phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list be­cause of a bro­ken foot. At the time of his in­jury in July, Kyle was ex­pected to re­turn early in camp.

Kyle is ex­pected to still com­pete for a ros­ter spot when he comes off the PUP list, and the Bron­cos also have un­drafted rook­ies Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jar­rett to con­sider. But the team is ex­pected to make a move to fill Winn’s role.

Mean­while, out­side lineback­ers Shane Ray (wrist) and Shaquil Bar­rett (hip) are re­cov­er­ing from in­juries and aren’t ex­pected back un­til early in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

In­side line­backer Todd Davis is deal­ing with a sprained shoul­der that has kept him out of mul­ti­ple prac­tices and will limit his ap­pear­ances in the preseason. And safety T.J. Ward in­jured his ham­string and did not play at Chicago.

On of­fense, run­ning back Devon­tae Booker tore a lig­a­ment in his wrist early in train­ing camp and was to miss at least six weeks. Cen­ter Matt Par­adis (hips) and run­ning back Ja­maal Charles (knees), nei­ther of whom played Thurs­day, con­tinue to inch their way back to to full-time sta­tus. Also, rookie QB Chad Kelly (wrist, ACL) and rookie tight end Jake Butt (ACL) are on the non­foot­ball in­jury list as they re­cover from in­juries suf­fered be­fore their ar­rival in Colorado.

Nam Y. Huh, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Billy Winn, in­jured Thurs­day, won’t play again this year.

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