CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Rookie left tackle Garett Bolles surprised onlookers Thursday, returning to practice four days after leaving the Dallas Cowboys game on a cart.
With his left foot and ankle heavily taped over his cleat, Bolles participated in offensive line drills during the period open to the media. Diagnosed with a bone bruise after a Monday MRI, Bolles now sits in position to possibly play Sunday at Buffalo.
"I thought it was serious when it happened. But when I got back and I knew the MRI it changed," Bolles said. "It felt good today. I am not going to rush it. I am grateful."
Bolles, 25, carved out a reputation as a tough player in his limited football experience in junior college and at Utah, where he played all 13 games last season.
Multiple Broncos players told Denver7 Bolles, who has yet to address the media since his MRI, remained optimistic about returning quickly. However, his presence Thursday turned heads even as the team internally remained encouraged by his progress. Bolles figured to need one week to allow the leg to heal. Bolles' reaction to the injury on Sunday and his noticeable athletic movement Thursday were hard to reconcile. Bolles slapped his hand onto the turf and wiped away tears as he exited the field, receiving encouragement from his fellow offensive line.
"I think any of you would have had the same reaction. I have never missed anything in any sport I have played," Bolles said. "I am feeling great where I am right now."
If Bolles can go, the Broncos would prefer he start. They have options if he's not ready, but Allen Barbre and Donald Stephenson have settled into swing lineman roles, with Barbe, in fact, still receiving snaps at left guard. Bolles has graded out well in pass blocking, allowing one sack this season, while delivering consistently strong in the ground game. The Bills own seven sacks in two games, and have long had a strong pass rush.
Cornerback Bradley Roby (ankle) returned to practice. He was limited on Wednesday. I saw him in the locker room Wednesday and said he looked good dancing during practice, and he quipped, "then you know I am OK." ... The Broncos rank first in third down, converting 17 of 30 over the first two games. ... The Broncos will fly to Buffalo on Friday night to allow for a regular practice on Saturday in New York. ... Von Miller called Noah Brown's cheap shot on his left knee "dirty" on Wednesday. He labeled it "baffling" on Thursday, but vowed to move on. Miller wore a sleeve on his knee.