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Questions about Orton's availability

There is a NFL.com report that says Denver quarterback Kyle Orton will play Sunday in a pivotal game against San Diego on Sunday despite suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of the second half of a loss at Washington on Sunday. It was Denver’s third straight loss. The Broncos are now 6-3 and are tied with San Diego heading into the game at Denver.

Monday, Denver Josh McDaniels coach said Orton is questionable to play against the Chargers. He said he is not sure when or if Orton will be able to practice this week.

If Orton can’t play, backup Chris Simms step in. Orton bounced back from his only two bad games as a Bronco by playing well in the first half as Denver took a 17-14 halftime lead over the Redskins. Orton had success in the deep game for Denver, which was rare for him. Simms struggled badly as he completed just 3 of 13 passes. Denver had just three first downs in the second half.

Orton has a left ankle sprain. Last year, while with Chicago, he suffered a right ankle sprain and he missed one game. His play tailed off after he was injured.

Orton played despite a finger injury earlier in the year. Combined with Orton’s toughness, the pivotal nature of the game and Simms’ struggles, expect the Broncos to do everything to do to get Orton ready to play.

I spoke to ESPN medical analyst Stephania Bell on Monday evening. She said Orton could potentially play against San Diego even if he doesn’t practice earlier in the week to concentrate on his rehabilitation.