Denver defensive lineman D.J. Jones cleared through the NFL’s concussion protocol and is questionable for Sunday’s game against Las Vegas, head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Friday.
Jones took part in the team stretch and non-contact individual work during the open portion of Friday’s practice. He played in just 13 snaps against San Francisco before exiting and being placed in the league’s protocol.
“I’m blessed (to be feeling good again),” Jones said. “I’m all clear and good to go for Sunday.”
Concussions have been a major topic of conversation in the NFL this week after Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit the back of his head on the turf and was taken to the hospital during Thursday night’s game, just five days after he suffered from apparent balance issues after a hit Sunday.
“I have full confidence in our medical team and how they evaluate everything,” Hackett said regarding Jones and his progress. “I have full confidence in the NFL and how they treat everything. Safety is first. Safety is always first. We’re always trying to do the right thing and every single one of them is different. …
“I don’t know if there’s a perfect way. It’s such a sensitive topic. In the end, it’s about player safety, player safety, player safety.”
Five out. Right guard Quinn Meinerz, sidelined since the second quarter of the season opener at Seattle with a hamstring issue, is among five players Denver ruled out for Sunday.
Meinerz was active last week but didn’t play, then was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. Before practice Thursday he told the Post, “It’s time to do my thing. I feel very confident that I’ll be out there on Sunday.” However, a team source said Meinerz experienced some discomfort in the muscle after practice and the training staff made the decision to hold him out again his weekend.
“He’s working through that and we want to make sure we bring him back the right way,” Hackett said.
The other players ruled out: Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (hamstring), cornerback Darrius Phillips (hamstring), outside linebacker Jonathan Cooper (hamstring) and offensive lineman Billy Turner (knee).
Right guard Dalton Risner (ankle) is questionable, though he’s been able to practice on a limited basis the past two days and told The Post on Wednesday that it’s “100 percent” he plays.
Short-term IR returns upcoming. Hackett said the two players eligible to come off injured reserve after Sunday’s game, tight end Greg Dulcich and cornerback Michael Ojemudia, have “a very good chance” of beginning practice next week. That does not necessarily mean either will be ready to play Thursday against Indianapolis. Players have a three-week window after returning to practice from injured reserve in which they can be activated.
Fines. Broncos running back Melvin Gordon and inside linebacker Jonas Griffith were both issued fines by the NFL on Friday for throwing a football into the stands in Week 3.
Gordon was fined $7,000 for hucking his fourth-quarter TD ball to the Empower Field crowd. Griffith was fined $4,500 for doing the same thing with his game-sealing interception in the 11-10 win over the 49ers.
“I won’t be doing that (expletive) again,” said Gordon, bewildered at the amount of the fine. “That’s rent money!”