Sanders (Achilles) had successful surgery Thursday and is now facing a rehab timeline of 6-to-8 months, James Palmer of NFL Network reports. The timetable may be optimistic, but it's at least evident Sanders plans to return for the final season of his contract with the Broncos. He'll celebrate his 32nd birthday in March and can safely be ruled out for the entire offseason program while he rehabs from surgery for the torn left Achilles. He faces a challenge to be ready for Week 1 of the 2019 season, at which point he'll be nine months removed from the initial injury. Players coming back from Achilles tears often struggle with other lower-body injuries in the process.
The Broncos placed Sanders (Achilles) on injured reserve Wednesday. The transaction confirms that Sanders suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon during practice earlier in the day. He'll undergo season-ending surgery and will be taken off the 53-man roster, opening up a spot for veteran wideout Andre Holmes, whom the team claimed off waivers Wednesday. With Sanders sidelined, Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton now profile as the Broncos' top wideouts.
The Broncos believe Sanders suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon during Wednesday's practice, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The report comes through about 20 minutes after the injury occurred, so there's obviously still testing to be done before a diagnosis is revealed. However, the initial test for a torn Achilles is usually accurate, and there were multiple reports of Sanders reacting in a manner that hinted at a serious injury. If the initial expectation is confirmed, the 31-year-old wideout would miss the rest of this season and face a challenging path to make it back for the 2019 opener.
Sanders was injured during Wednesday's practice and was unable to put any weight on his left leg while requiring assistance off the field, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports. Troy Renck of Denver 7 News relays that Sanders was visibly upset after going down with the injury, tossing his helmet to the side while pointing at his lower left leg. It's too soon to arrive at any conclusions, but there's no doubt the situation will need to be carefully monitored in the coming hours. The Broncos aren't exactly teeming with wideout depth; the cast behind Sanders is led by rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton as well as 2017 undrafted free agent Tim Patrick.
Sanders caught four of six targets for 19 yards during Sunday's 24-10 win over the Bengals. With the wind swirling in Cincinnati, the Broncos went run-heavy and threw a lot of short passes. Sanders and Case Keenum narrowly missed on a deep shot in the third quarter, but Sanders was blown up by safety Shawn Williams, a play that drew a personal foul and briefly sidelined the veteran target. The Broncos are clearly looking to pound the ball, avoid turnovers and play strong defense as they seek to get back in the playoff picture. That, normally, should still allow for a fair amount of opportunities for the team's only veteran target. Look for Sanders to rebound against a middle-of-the-road 49ers pass defense next Sunday.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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