The Broncos got running back Knowshon Moreno into full-team work Monday morning for the first time since he tore his ACL at Kansas City last November. But he's not quite ready for a full workload.
"He's kind of day-to-day," Broncos coach John Fox said after practice. "As far as his recovery, a lot of it is mental."
Moreno's recovery from the injury -- which came moments after he'd replaced an injured Willis McGahee during a 17-10 win over the Chiefs -- has come in stages. He began taking part in individual drills during organized team activities in June, progressed to catching passes during a seven-on-seven period last Friday, and then Monday received a handoff from Peyton Manning in a full-team drill.
"I'm not where I want to be yet, but every day is a big stepping stone," Moreno said.
Moreno grabbed more passes than handoffs from Peyton Manning on Monday, and that trend may continue. Moreno's struggles as an every-down back prior to the injury are well-documented. The 2009 first-round pick has two 100-yard games on his ledger -- both against Kansas City in 2010. But he always has been effective at catching passes out of the backfield, a skill that could be prized with Manning at the controls.
But there's no guarantee Moreno makes the roster if other running backs remain healthy. Willis McGahee is entrenched at the No. 1 spot, and the Broncos would like to find snaps for third-round pick Ronnie Hillman, who is buried on the depth chart but has reeled off explosive runs daily in training camp.
Lance Ball would appear to be Moreno's primary competition for a spot, as the versatile veteran has proven to be a capable runner, blocker, receiver, fill-in returner and tackler on kickoff and punt coverage teams.
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