CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Broncos running back C.J. Anderson will undergo surgery Thursday to repair potential torn meniscus in his right knee. Until the operation is performed to reveal the significance of the tear, Anderson's recovery time remains undetermined. The Broncos are hopeful they will know more Thursday night.
The Broncos could elect to place Anderson on the injured reserve, leaving the window open for him to return for the final week of the regular season. Anderson texted the Broncos running backs and told them "I will be back and do everything I can to help," according to rookie Devontae Booker. Recovery time varies with this injury from several weeks to several months. While at Utah, Booker tore his meniscus in November. He was told he would know the damage when he woke up and saw the clock.
"I looked at the time and I was out for an hour-and-a-half, so I knew it wasn't a 20-minute simple procedure," Booker told Denver7
Doctors provided this general outline of meniscus surgery. If the damaged portion of the cartilage is removed, an athlete can return in three-to-four weeks, but that can create future issues with discomfort. If the torn ends are sewn back together, which is what Booker said he had done, the healing time lengthens. It typically takes three months to return, but Booker underwent a second procedure to trim the cartilage after two months.
"When I got mine, it was my first injury ever. I didn't feel like myself until training camp, but again, I had to start my rehab over," Booker said. "Once I started pushing it, it was fine. I don't wear a brace or anything. I don't even think about it anymore. It just stinks it happened to C.J., too."
Anderson told Denver7 on Thursday morning he was hopeful of learning a full diagnosis Thursday, setting a plan of rehab in place. He sought a second opinion with a California doctor because of the uncertainty surrounding the injury.
Anderson woke up sore Tuesday, leading to an exam. A visit with a doctor in California followed. Anderson said he feels good and is not in pain, but remains concerned.
Anderson hurt his leg on the final play of the first quarter Monday. He rushed 14 additional times, finishing with a game-high 107 yards on the ground against Houston. The Broncos are bracing for Anderson to miss this Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, possibly longer.
Anderson's absence will hurt. He leads the team in rushing with 437 yards and is coming off his second-best game of the season. He excels at yards after contact, and is universally praised by his teammates for his offensive IQ. He helps the quarterback in recognition of fronts, and is the Broncos' top running back in pass protection. Rookie Devontae Booker will move into the starting lineup. To add depth, the seamless short-term move would be to promote Juwan Thompson from the practice squad.
The Broncos nearly lost Anderson in the offseason when the Miami Dolphins made him a four-year, $18-million offer as a restricted free agent. Denver matched it, guaranteeing Anderson a $5.25 million signing bonus with a $675,000 base salary this season. He's guaranteed to receive $1.7 million of next season's $2.9 million base salary.
This is the time of season Anderson typically gains strength. He led the NFL in the second half of the past two seasons in yards from scrimmage.