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Wes Welker returns to practice, still not cleared to play

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Wes Welker is hoping to play 15 days after suffering a concussion. (USATSI)
Wes Welker is hoping to play 15 days after suffering a concussion. (USATSI)

Nine days ago, Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker suffered his third concussion in 10 months. Rightly, there were questions about whether the 33-year-old should consider retirement, given what we know -- and continue to learn -- about the long-term effects of head trauma. Two days later, coach John Fox said retirement was never a consideration.

"That's not been brought up at all," he said. "... I didn't sense that."

On Monday, Welker returned to practice. He will participate in individual drills but has yet to be cleared to play in the team's season-opener Sunday night against the Colts, reports USAToday.com's Lindsay Jones.

If all goes well, Welker will return to full-contact practices before he will be allowed to suit up against the Colts. The Broncos remain cautiously optimistic about those prospects.

"One step at a time, still in the process, in the protocol," general manager John Elway said. "So, he'll be out running around Monday and continue through the protocol, take it one day at a time.''

If Welker can't go, expect Emmanuel Sanders, signed this offseason, to step into his role.

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