|09-03-2009, 07:49 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Offensive line's Hamilton dealing with back pain
The Broncos were riding a wave of good health for a time in the preseason, but the aches and pains have now hit them in the offensive front.
Veteran guard Ben Hamilton, who is entering his ninth season and is the longest-tenured player with the team, was held out of practice Tuesday and Wednesday because of back pain.
While it's not expected to keep him on the sideline for an extended time, Hamilton was in enough discomfort that he was sent to a specialist for tests that are believed to have included X-rays as well as an MRI.
Hamilton is expected to be held out of tonight's preseason finale unless he improves significantly. That would put rookie Seth Olsen at Hamilton's left guard spot.
Russ Hochstein is expected to play in place of the injured Chris Kuper (ankle) at right guard.
Hamilton has been a durable player, having started 16 games in all six of his seasons as a starter.
He missed the 2007 season because of postconcussion symptoms.
Amid likely trade interest from Cleveland to Baltimore to New York, the Broncos on Wednesday sent a clear message about the future of Brandon Marshall.
Coach Josh McDaniels said after the Broncos' walkthrough that when Marshall's team-imposed suspension is lifted Sunday, he plans on the wide receiver going nowhere but back to work.
"There's no discussions what- soever between the Denver Broncos and any team in the National Football League regarding Brandon Marshall," McDaniels said. "We're looking forward to having Brandon back on the sixth of September, and starting our preparation for Cincinnati with him."
The Broncos open the regular season Sept. 13 against the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Only Marshall can be kicked out one week and receive an olive branch the next. The last thing the Broncos need is another headache. But they sure could use Marshall's size, strength and skills for their new ball-control passing game.
Marshall averaged 103 catches for the Broncos the past two seasons but has been a perpetual problem this year. First he walked out of the Broncos' offseason rehab program in May. Then he dodged the team's mandatory minicamp in June.
Marshall acted up in practice last week, leading the Broncos to suspend him for the final nine days of the preseason because of detrimental conduct.
Several trade possibilities have been reported, though none of the speculation was started from the Broncos' camp.
McDaniels said all healthy Denver starters would play tonight. Among the Broncos who won't play because of an in- jury but will have a chance to return for the opener at Cincinnati: quarterbacks Kyle Orton (finger) and Chris Simms (ankle), defensive end Le Kevin Smith (knee), running back Knowshon Moreno (knee), wide receiver Jabar Gaffney (thumb) and Kuper. . . . First Jay Cutler returns. And now, Mike Leach. Broncos fans and the Denver media may have paid more attention to the former. The returning players in the locker room may be more excited about the latter. Leach was a popular teammate and long snapper the previous six years with Denver. Released after the Broncos signed former New England long snapper Lonie Paxton in free agency, Leach quickly caught on with the Arizona Cardinals, who play the Broncos tonight at Invesco Field at Mile High.