DENVER -- This comes as no surprise to those who watch the Broncos. They have struggled to run the football. The 103 yards against the New Orleans Saints brought hope for a productive finish. And there's another reason for optimism if the Broncos can reach the playoffs. Leading rusher C.J. Anderson, who tore the meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 24 against Houston, told Denver7 he is healing ahead of schedule.
"Yes it is. I am doing really well," said Anderson, who has been rehabbing in California where he underwent the operation. "I am feeling good. I miss playing for sure."
The Broncos placed Anderson on the injured reserve with the idea he could return for the playoffs. Despite missing three games, Anderson, pictured above with former Denver great Terrell Davis, tops the Broncos in rushing yards (437), attempts (110) and touchdowns (four). He was the NFL's most productive player in yards from scrimmage over the previous two second halves, and appeared poised for a strong push before his injury.
Teams are allowed to recall one player to the active roster from the injured reserve after a minimum of eight weeks.
Denver will return from its bye week Monday with specific instructions to the offensive linemen and backs on how to improve the ground attack. Devontae Booker, a rookie, remains the starter with former Colorado State star Kapri Bibbs his backup. Booker owns 152 yards over the past three games in Anderson's absence, but is averaging 2.87 yards per carry during this stretch. He eclipsed 1,200 yards in consecutive seasons at Utah, and was only available late in the draft because he suffered a meniscus tear late in his final college campaign.
The Broncos' line figures to look different this week in preparation for the Sunday night prime time game against Kansas City. Ty Sambrailo is expected to start at right tackle, though Donald Stephenson could rotate in, and Billy Turner might receive some reps at guard. The break figures to have helped steady center Matt Paradis. He has not missed a snap in two seasons but has practiced little over the last month because of a sore hip.
Denver's 3.69 yards per rush entered Sunday ranked sixth worst in the NFL. The Broncos believe if they can run consistently and stay on the field, it will make the defense -- the backbone of the team -- even stronger.
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