CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Broncos linebacker Shane Ray wore a brace on his left wrist at practice the past two days. He now braces for potential surgery on his wrist after undergoing three procedures last season. Reached on Tuesday, Ray told Denver7 he continues weighing his options as he seeks a second opinion.
"I don't know," Ray said regarding having another surgery, "I have to wait and see."
For Ray, the setback represents another wicked speed-bump on his road to recovery. Ray tore ligaments in his wrist during training camp. He had pins and screws inserted to accelerate the healing. Doctors removed the pins during the season, but the screws remained to secure the bone. The screws were eventually removed. The lingering pain and lack of strength sabotaged Ray. He dropped to 225 pounds because he could not lift and his lacking strength left him unable to shed blockers.
The result? A lost season with one sack and 16 tackles in eight games.
This offseason brought hope for a jumpstart. Ray recovered, bulked up to 257 pounds and looked strong in early workouts. However, questions about his health and escalating salary led the Broncos to decline his fifth-year rookie option. Ray understood the Broncos move, especially in light of the team's selection of first-rounder Bradley Chubb, "calling it a business decision."
Still, Ray found motivation. He needs a good year to cash in with the Broncos, or more likely, with another team as a free agent. It made this week's developments difficult for the former Missouri star. His wrist became sore, leaving the strong possibility of surgery. The glimmer of good news is that the calendar works in his favor. Training camp does not begin until the last week of July.
Ray has been a positive force at practice even with his injury. In the only workout open to the media this week, Ray spent Monday coaching young outside linebackers, helping them with their technique.
The drafting of Chubb protects the Broncos if Ray faces an extended absence. The Broncos remain determined to get the rookie on the field early. Denver boasts depth with Von Miller and Shaq Barrett. And while early in the evaluation process, undrafted free agent Jeff Holland appears to have a decent chance of making the team.