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Injuries force Broncos to release Ahtyba Rubin, look for help at wide receiver

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The best laid plans of coaches and GMs often go astray because of injuries and the Denver Broncos' plans for defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin, who was signed in September, are officially off the board.

Rubin was released Tuesday as the Broncos have injuries both at wide receiver and on the offensive line that have to be dealt with in the short term. The Broncos also put tackle/guard Billy Turner on injured reserve Tuesday after he had surgery Monday to repair a fractured right hand.

The Broncos, given Rubin had started every game for the Seattle Seahawks in the previous two seasons, had hoped Rubin would quickly work his way into the rotation, especially on early downs, after Jared Crick went to injured reserve in September. But Rubin was active in just two games and played just 13 snaps overall.

The moves initially gave the Broncos two available roster spots and they appeared to fill one of those later in the day when rookie wide receiver River Cracraft took to Twitter to announce "an opportunity" with the Broncos. He is believed to be signed to the practice squad. Receiver Hunter Sharp, who was on Denver's practice squad, is a likely consideration to be signed to the 53-man roster.

The Broncos have some concern at wide receiver because Emmanuel Sanders (right ankle) and Isaiah McKenzie (right ankle) will not play Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers and each could miss several weeks.

The Broncos had worked out four wide receivers earlier Tuesday -- Cracraft, Devin Lucien, Tim Patrick and Domonique Young. Many teams believed Cracraft could contribute fairly quickly as a slot receiver in the league once he was healthy.

Cracraft missed Washington State’s final three games of the 2016 season when he tore his ACL. He went undrafted this past April.

For his part, Turner had replaced Menelik Watson at right tackle in Sunday night’s loss to the New York Giants after Watson had suffered a calf injury. Watson was limping some Monday and could be limited in practice this week as well.

The Broncos may still be in the market for another offensive linemen as they gauge the severity of Watson’s injury. Coach Vance Joseph called Watson day to day on Monday because of a calf strain.

But Watson, who has never started more than nine games in any of his previous three seasons, has been troubled at times with leg injuries in the past. Watson ruptured his Achilles tendon to miss the 2015 season and had difficulties with calf injuries in his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders as well, including in 2013 and 2016.

Joseph said Donald Stephenson, who was a game day inactive for Sunday night’s loss to the Giants, and Allen Barbre were potential replacements in the lineup if Watson could not play against the Chargers Sunday. But Joseph also added “all options will be explored’’ and Turner had worked as a backup at both tackle and guard.