Heuerman was diagnosed with three broken ribs and a bruised lung Monday, so this news comes as no surprise. In 11 games this season, Heuerman showed big moments in the passing game and caught 31 of 48 targets for 281 yards and two touchdowns. With the Ohio State product headed to IR, Matt LaCosse, Brian Parker and newly promoted Temarrick Hemingway will handle duties at tight end for the Broncos going forward this season.
Coach Vance Joseph confirmed Heuerman (ribs/lung) will miss the rest of the season, Ryan O'Halloran of The Denver Post reports.
Diagnosed with three broken ribs and a bruised lung, Heuerman finishes the final season of his rookie contract with 31 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns on 48 targets in 11 games. He had a couple big moments in the passing game and earned a solid reputation as a blocker, but his uninspired marks of 9.1 yards per catch and 5.9 per target could make it difficult to land a large contract this upcoming offseason. With the 2015 third-round pick headed for injured reserve, Matt LaCosse is left as Denver's top pass catcher at tight end, though Brian Parker is also a candidate to handle some of the vacated snaps.
Heuerman is expected to miss the rest of the season while recovering from broken ribs and a bruised lung, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Initially reported as a back injury, Heuerman's issue turned out to be far more serious. If Heuerman ends up being shut down for good, he'll finish the season with 31 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns on 48 targets, highlighted by a 10-reception outing in a Week 9 loss to the Texans. The Broncos are left with Matt LaCosse as their top pass-catching tight end, while Brian Parker will ascend to the No. 2 role and likely handle some of Heuerman's blocking duties. The Denver offense may become even more reliant on Phillip Lindsay and Emmanuel Sanders with Heuerman out of the mix.
Heuerman left Sunday's game against Pittsburgh with a back injury, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports.
Heuerman was deemed questionable to return in the fourth quarter, exiting the game with two catches for 44 yards on three targets. An absence for Week 13 against the Bengals would push Matt LaCosse into a bigger role after he put up a 3-34-1 receiving line (on four targets) in Sunday's 24-17 win over Pittsburgh.
Heuerman caught four of five targets for 20 yards during Sunday's 23-22 win over the Chargers.
It was a steep step off of Heuerman's career day against the Texans, but he's still tallied 21 targets over his past three games, just three fewer than the first seven games of the season combined. Without many established targets outside of Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Courtland Sutton, expect the targets to keep coming. Like all of Denver's pass-catchers, Heuerman's value is hampered by Denver's tendency to pound the ball in the red zone, but -- of the mere three touchdown passes Denver has completed in the past three games -- two have gone to Heuerman.
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