CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Broncos face a must-win situation Sunday with a potentially compromised lineup. It's becoming increasingly unlikely defensive end Derek Wolfe (stingers), and linebacker Brandon Marshall (left hamstring) will play after they missed practice Thursday.
Wolfe suffered two stingers in his shoulder and neck area during the loss to the Patriots game. Pain tolerance is never an issue with Wolfe, who missed just one game with a broken bone in his elbow. More salient is his ability to protect himself from injury if he has limited mobility in the trenches. Wolfe told Denver7 on Wednesday he was no longer sure if he would be ready for Sunday.
Marshall, speaking to Denver7, admitted it was key for him to run on Thursday. He has no issues jogging, but needs to show acceleration and cut. Until he can do that, it's hard to see him playing after suffering the grade two left hamstring strain two weeks ago.
Safety T.J. Ward (concussion) showed signs of progress, attending practice Thursday, but not participating. He joined tight ends A.J. Derby and Virgil Green in the concussion protocol.
If Marshall can't go, Corey Nelson will start in his place. Nelson collected a career-high 13 tackles last week. Wolfe's absence is tougher to manage because Adam Gotsis is a rookie who still needs seasoning. Wolfe is a rare defensive end who is stout against the run and can rush the passer. He was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate earlier this week.