CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Shane Ray predicted Friday morning that he would dominate in his third year. As the outside linebacker spoke, he wore a brace on his heavily taped left wrist. Ray can still grab this season by the nape of the neck. But his run to glory has been interrupted.
A Friday afternoon exam revealed a torn ligament in his left wrist. He will miss 6-to-8 weeks following surgery, a jarring blow for a team already without Shaq Barrett for a similar time period with a hip injury.
Ray injured his left wrist taking on a block in Thursday's practice. He came off the field, briefly, then returned. However, he fell on it awkwardly during a pass rushing drill on Friday morning. Ray remained in good spirits when meeting with the press before an X-Ray clobbered his day. It revealed the torn ligament. He is expected to undergo surgery on Saturday, with the team hopeful he will return for the Broncos game at Buffalo Sept. 24.
Once loaded with pass rushers, Denver has lost its top three players behind Von Miller. DeMarcus Ware retired and Barrett and Ray are hurt. It leaves Kasim Edebali and Vontarrius Dora in line for more playing time if the Broncos choose not to chase a free agent like Dwight Freeney. The Broncos are expected to call about multiple players to gage interest.
"Kasim (signed as a free agent this offseason from New Orleans) has rushing skills. He's a guy who's going to help us rush from the SAM position," coach Vance Joseph said. "He's capable. As a 3-4 front defense, you have to have a rusher. You want at least three. Again we don't play for a month-and-a-half. We've got time to figure it out."