The Denver Broncos were dealt some devastating injury news in their win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, losing running back Willis McGahee for the next 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. As things stand right now, six weeks would put McGahee out for the rest of the regular season, while eight would keep him sidelined until the second round of the NFL Playoffs. It all depends on how quickly McGahee can recover from his latest leg injury, as well as the position the Broncos are in when he is close to returning.
As of now, McGahee still thinks he may be able to return in some capacity in four weeks. If that is the case, he could play a little during the final game or two of the regular season, in hopes that he will be fully recovered in time for the postseason. Still, that seems a tad overly optimistic.
Either way, the Broncos are going to wait on adding another running back until they learn more about McGahee’s recovery and return timetable. They brought in Steve Slaton for a workout on Tuesday, and all reports were that he looked good. But Denver may not sign him or any other back until or if McGahee is placed on season ending IR, preferring to roll with Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball and even perhaps Knowshon Moreno.
Then again, that could change, depending on how that rotation looks, beginning with this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. It will not be the most difficult matchup on paper, so Denver may need to wait a couple of more weeks before fully evaluating its backfield situation. As things would appear, Hillman may get the majority of the carries starting out, but Ball will be relied upon quite heavily as well. Moreno is the wild card as of this minute.
What this will ultimately mean is that the Broncos will continue to rely on the historic comeback of Peyton Manning, as he continues to lead Denver to a first place standing in the AFC West. With the conference being a bit down again, the Broncos may be able to wrap up clinching the division with a few games remaining, allowing certain players the luxury of resting a bit down the stretch.
And as for the running game, Manning is used to winning while receiving little in terms of rushing yards per game. He knows that he needs just to run the ball enough to keep the defenses honest, although, when it comes to playing against Manning, is that ever the case? Tams are always going to drop more men into coverage and dare the ground game to beat them, opposed to letting Manning have his way through the air.
Either way, while this injury to McGahee will hurt, especially while the Broncos figure out some sort of rotation or depth chart, this news would have been far more devastating had Peyton Manning not been under center.