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Courtland Sutton ruled out of opener after hurting shoulder in practice

Star receiver, rookie K.J. Hamler among inactives
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Posted at 7:14 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 22:19:39-04

DENVER -- In the span of two days, the Broncos lost arguably their two best players.

The sobering reality was confirmed Monday night as star receiver Courtland Sutton landed on the inactive list with a sprained right shoulder, joining Von Miller on the sideline.

Miller hasn't ruled out playing this season after undergoing surgery last week to repair a dislocated tendon in his ankle. The earliest he could return is the middle of December. Sutton remains hopeful he will play Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Sutton's injury stings in every way imaginable. He was a centerpiece of Pat Shurmur's new offense -- a player capable of executing the deep strikes -- who can win one-on-one matchups and emerged last year as a security blanket for promising quarterback Drew Lock.

Sutton hurt his shoulder Thursday, jumping up for a pass before stretch began, and falling awkwardly as his braced himself with his right hand. The force jammed his arm into his shoulder, spraining the AC joint. There was optimism he would play after his progress Saturday and Sunday, but he was unable to make it to the finish line on Monday. It is an indication of the pain he's still in that he never tested it in pregame, left to watch as his teammates warmed up.

Sutton led the Broncos with 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns last season. He reached the Pro Bowl as an alternate in his second season.

The onus is on rookie Jerry Jeudy to step up in his debut. He enjoyed a strong training camp. Other receivers available are Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton. Lock could also use a boost on easy passes to tight end Noah Fant and running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.

Joining Sutton on the inactive list: outside linebacker Von Miller (ankle), receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring), inside linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring), guard Netane Muti (healthy), tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (healthy after recovering from minor hip issue) and defensive lineman McTelvin Agim.

Rookie outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka and safety P.J. Locke were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster for Monday's game.