CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- DeMarcus Ware will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair his broken right forearm, sidelining him approximately four-to-five weeks, according to coach Gary Kubiak.
The Broncos outside linebacker fractured his ulna on a third quarter sack attempt in Sunday's victory over the Indianapolis Colts. He grabbed at quarterback Andrew Luck's shoulder, and couldn't secure him. His momentum swung him around into a charging Von Miller from the opposite side. Miller crashed into Ware's arm and upper body.
Ware exited Sunday night with a cast extended beyond his elbow. He knew he would miss time, but wasn't sure if surgery would be required. At 34 with a history of a bulging disc issues in his back, Ware serves as a situational pass rusher. He began the season on a play count as a concession to his age and injuries. He appeared on 13 snaps in Sunday's win, and 32 in the opener. He owns two of the team's eight sacks. And Ware stands as the Broncos team leader, the veteran who has filled the void following Peyton Manning's retirement.
Ware is expected to remain a vocal presence in his on-field absence. His surgery opens up an opportunity for Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett. A former first-round draft choice, Ray has emerged in his second season. Ray, who has added eight pounds of muscle this year, played 45 snaps against the Colts, and though he missed two sacks by his count, he redeemed himself with a scoop-and-score touchdown to seal the win. Barrett appeared in 27 plays. Ray has seen significantly more time this season -- 83 snaps to Barrett's 52. Neither has registered a sack this season.
Ware suffered a displaced fracture. A plate was inserted to promote healing. Typical recovery time is four-to-six weeks, though bone growth stimulators can sometimes accelerate the timetable.
"It needs to stabilize. And you want to keep the wrist from rotating to let it heal," said Dr. Luga Podesta, director of sports medicine at St. Charles Orthopedics in New York, who didn't treat Ware but provided insight on the injury. "Especially this early in the season I could see them taking a cautious approach."
Stephenson out a week
Right tackle Dwight Stephenson will not play this week after suffering a left calf injury. He experienced a similar issue in camp and it lingered eight-to-10 days. His absence creates options. Michael Schofield might remain at right tackle, but Ty Sambrailo is an option there with Schofield staying at right guard. Darrion Weems played right guard today. Tight end Virgil Green (right calf) is expected to play.