Wes Welker returns to practice field
AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos got their three “W’s” back at practice on Christmas Day — Wes Welker, Derek Wolfe and Kayvon Webster.
It’s unlikely that Welker and Wolfe will play against Oakland in the regular-season finale Sunday, but both were cleared to practice after prolonged absences and are working to regain their timing and conditioning.
Welker’s practice was his first since suffering a second concussion on Dec. 8. He was allowed to participate on a limited basis according to the NFL’s concussion protocol.
“It was good to see him out there,” coach John Fox said.
The Broncos have struggled to convert third downs since losing Welker just before halftime against Tennessee three weeks ago.
“Yeah, we’d like to stay on the field more,” Peyton Manning said. “… That’s definitely a point of emphasis that we can improve on.”
Wolfe hadn’t practiced since having a seizure-like episode on the team bus trip to the airport on Nov. 29 before the Broncos flew to Kansas City. He had been working out with the team’s training staff for a couple of weeks.
“Football is a unique game in that you can try to simulate different things in the weight room and different areas, but until you get out there and start running around playing, it’s not quite the same,” Fox said. “So, he’s back out there. We’ve got everything under control. Now it’s just a matter of him getting back into football shape.”
Wolfe has had a difficult year, beginning with a neck injury in the preseason and continuing with a food poisoning episode early in the season that caused him to lose a lot of weight.
Webster practiced for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right thumb on Dec. 13 after breaking it in two places the first half against San Diego the night before.
If Webster can handle the pain of playing with a cast, chances are he’ll be active against the Raiders (4-11) when the Broncos (12-3) try to secure the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs.
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