The Denver Broncos‘ second-half push for the postseason suffered a devastating blow.
“It didn’t look good,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph told reporters after practice. Joseph said Sanders had been feeling sore in his “heel area” last week, but was feeling better before practice Wednesday.
“There are a lot of teams that have injuries right now,” Joseph said. “Again, it’s late in the year, it’s the fourth quarter of the season, injuries happen. We simply have to move on and play a game on Sunday.”
Sanders led the team with 71 catches for 868 yards and four touchdowns on 98 targets, and was well on his way to produce a fourth career 1,000-yard receiving season.
The Broncos are riding a three-game winning streak, and Sanders totaled 15 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown over the span to put Denver in position for a run at the playoffs.
Denver’s remaining matchups are against the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, three teams with a combined 8-27-1 record, before the season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Broncos will now need to make adjustments in the passing game, and the options include rookie wide receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton taking on bigger roles. The Broncos also have wide receivers Tim Patrick and River Cracraft on the active 53-player roster, and Chad Hansen on the practice squad. They also claimed former Bills wideout Andre Holmes off waivers Wednesday, Rapoport reported.
Sanders isn’t the only high-profile injury the Broncos are dealing with. Cornerback Chris Harris suffered a fractured fibula in Week 13, but he hopes to return in time for the playoffs should the Broncos advance.