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Vance Joseph: Jamaal Charles will play in preseason before roster decided

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Saturday that the team would probably have to see Jamaal Charles play in a game to make a decision about the running back when rosters leaguewide go to 53 players before the regular season.

Charles, who has played in just eight games in the past two years because of multiple knee surgeries, did not play in the Broncos' preseason opener Thursday night in Chicago. Charles did not take part in team drills as training camp opened but has been worked steadily into practice a little more with each passing week.

The Broncos see Charles, a four-time Pro Bowl selection in his nine seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, as a potential situational player who could get 10-12 snaps per game if they determine his knees will hold up to the work. Joseph said Saturday he had not yet decided if Charles would play next Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers, but Joseph did concede the team's decision-makers would likely have to see Charles play in a game before they make their roster decisions.

"Probably, yes," Joseph said. "We've got San Fran this week, we've got Green Bay, and even Arizona Week 4. He'll eventually play; it depends on the docs and how he's feeling."

The Broncos face the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 26 and then close out the preseason Aug. 31 against the Arizona Cardinals. The Broncos have a crowded depth chart at running back, especially with the emergence of rookie De'Angelo Henderson and with what Stevan Ridley has shown in practice; Ridley was signed after Devontae Booker had surgery to repair a fracture in his left wrist as training camp opened.

Joseph has said Henderson's speed and elusiveness makes him "special," and Henderson is the fastest back on the roster. Joseph has also praised Ridley's work ethic, and Ridley has shown himself to be a consistent receiver in drills.

Booker is expected back for the start of the regular season. In his absence, C.J. Anderson has taken most of the work with the starting offense.