<
>

Brown dislocates left elbow during practice drill

DENVER -- Broncos defensive lineman Courtney Brown dislocated his left elbow Thursday, a setback that is expected to keep him out three to six weeks and yet another in a series of injuries that have hampered his career.

Brown was injured in the morning practice at Denver's training camp, at the end of a play during which he was trying to strip the ball from a player "and his arm kind of got twisted," coach Mike Shanahan said.

Shanahan said X-rays showed no breaks and an MRI showed no structural damage, meaning Brown should be ready for the first regular-season game in five weeks.

"He's done everything in the offseason to get himself ready, and his previous injuries are feeling great, so to have something like this happen to him I'm sure is disheartening," Shanahan said.

Brown, the first pick of the 2000 draft, has played only one full season since he entered the league. Last year, he missed 14 games with an injured foot. Other injuries have been to his elbow, biceps, neck, knee and ankle. Since playing all 16 games his rookie year, he has missed 33 of 64 games.

The Broncos signed him in the offseason, knowing he can still be a force if healthy. He came into camp in great shape. Earlier this week, defensive line coach Andre Patterson, who also worked with Brown in Cleveland, said he can understand the disappointment fans
there felt in Brown.

"People wanted to see him play," Patterson said. "They paid him a bunch of money. But he's not a guy who misses because he's
got a hamstring that's always hurting. When he's out, it's because
he breaks something."

In this case, he did not break anything, which could be the
difference between missing an entire season and just a few weeks.

Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe missed three weeks with
a dislocated elbow in 2002. Shanahan said the optimistic view was
Brown would miss three weeks, which would mean he would return Aug.
25, two days before Denver's third preseason game. If he misses
six, he would return before Week 2 of the regular season.

Brown was one of four ex-Cleveland linemen the Broncos brought
into camp. Defensive line is one of their deepest positions.

"We're blessed" with that depth, defensive coordinator Larry
Coyer said. "That guy is going to get a break, and he is going to
be back I know it. That sucker is tough, and he'll be back. I
promise you."