Broncos will miss unheralded “leader” K’Waun Williams, start week with lengthy injury list


Nickel corner K’Waun Williams isn’t the most heralded member of the Broncos’ top-flight defense, but he’s been among its most important over the first nine games.

Now he’s going to miss multiple weeks with a knee injury that requires arthroscopic surgery.

“I’m very excited about the next-man-up (philosophy) and there’s been a lot of those — it’s a great opportunity for a lot of guys to get experience and go out there and play football, so I’m excited for the guys that are going to go out there and make plays, but K’Waun has done an incredible job for us,” head coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “You saw the pass break-up and the pick against Jacksonville and those were huge to get that win.

“He’s been all over the place. He’s a leader. He’s soft-spoken but he plays loud. That’s what I love about him. He’s a great person and he’ll be around a lot. We want to get him back.”

Williams has played about 70% of Denver’s defensive snaps this season because he can do a little bit of everything. He’s sound in coverage, reliable against the run and is an effective blitzer, too. On the season he has 30 tackles (two for loss), a sack, two quarterback hits, five passes defensed and the interception.

The Broncos have not placed Williams on injured reserve, so they may hope they can get him back in less than four weeks.

The same situation applies to wide receiver KJ Hamler, who is expected to miss multiple weeks in addition to last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.

Denver currently has 14 players on injured reserve that account for about $55 million against the 2022 salary cap — or more than 25% of the team’s cap.

Gregory’s recovery: Another player who does not appear likely to help in the next week or so is outside linebacker Randy Gregory.

The veteran has been on injured reserve since suffering a knee injury Week 4 against the Raiders. He has not been designated to return to practice — when that happens, he has up to three weeks to be activated to the 53-man roster — and Hackett indicated that is unlikely to happen this week.

“Right now we’re just playing that week-to-week and we’re just going to do what’s right for him,” Hackett said.

Injury report: Denver had 16 players total on its Wednesday injury report.

In addition to Hamler and Williams, receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle), tight end Andrew Beck (hamstring) and defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike (illness) did not practice. The group that practiced on a limited basis: Outside linebacker Baron Browning (hip), offensive linemen Tom Compton (back), Cam Fleming (quad) and Graham Glasgow (shoulder), safeties Justin Simmons (knee) and Kareem Jackson (veteran rest day), wide receiver Kendall Hinton (shoulder) and defensive lineman Mike Purcell (vet rest).

The group of players working through injuries worked inside the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, rather than on a side field. Some seen during the open portion of practice included Simmons, Browning, Hinton and running back Mike Boone, who is on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Denver also brought long snapper Jacob Bobenmoyer back from injured reserve and put long snapper Mitchel Fraboni on injured reserve.


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