CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Even before Thursday's first training camp snap, the Broncos' running back corps suffered a hit.
Second-year pro Devontae Booker, who totaled 877 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns last season, will be sidelined at least six weeks with a wrist injury. Coach Vance Joseph said Thursday Booker will undergo surgery to repair a hairline fracture.
Booker dealt with a wrist problem during OTAs. It failed to heal, and eventually became worse. As of Wednesday afternoon, Joseph mentioned Booker being in line to receive reps behind starter C.J. Anderson.
Booker dealt with knee issues as a rookie following multiple surgeries in college and after the combine. He told Denver7 late last season how much he looked forward to a season not defined by rehab. No such luck. His wrist injury means he will be placed on the PUP list, leaving his return unclear. The Broncos begin the season on Sept. 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers, creating a race against the clock for Booker.
Booker's absence creates more reps for rookie De'Angelo Henderson, a sixth-round pick in the most recent draft. Veterans Bernard Pierce and Juwan Thompson are also in the mix. Booker's injury intensifies the spotlight on Jamaal Charles. Charles (knee injuries) has been cleared for training camp, but the plan remains to ease him back slowly as a third down back and periodic ball carrier. "We want him healthy for 16 games," said Joseph, hoping Charles a late-career boost like Frank Gore.
The Broncos would love for him to get 10 touches a game early on. But they want to manage his workload after he played in only eight games the past two seasons.