ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Plugging the gaping hole at defensive tackle has proven to be the Denver Broncos' biggest bugaboo.
The draft was deep in run-stuffers but the Broncos bypassed them all, choosing instead to select the best pass-rusher in Von Miller with the second overall pick and electing to pick up a few more beefy bodies in free agency.
Their wallets weren't thick enough to lure the marquee names in the frenzied days after the lockout ended. But they liked their luck when Ty Warren was cut by New England.
The Broncos made the former Patriots star interior lineman the centerpiece of their free agent class by signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal that included a $2.5 million bonus and $1.5 million salary for 2011.
They also re-signed their own free agent defensive tackle, Marcus Thomas, at $1 million for one year.
Both were injured within five minutes of each other when they lined up with the first-team defense during a 9-on-7 drill Monday.
Thomas (strained pectoral) and Warren (torn triceps) won't be back on the field anytime soon.
Thomas' chest muscle wasn't completely torn off the bone like Elvis Dumervil's was when he suffered a season-ending injury early in last summer's training camp. So, the Broncos are hoping he'll be ready to play by the time their season starts Sept. 12.
Warren is out indefinitely. The Broncos are hoping he won't need surgery and can return to the field at some point this season, although that would mean going with a 52-man roster for a while.
"Well, injuries are part of the deal, especially in camp," coach John Fox said. "We have a next-man-up philosophy, so Bunk (Brodrick Bunkley) and Kevin Vickerson, they'll get an opportunity, along with some others, and we'll just take it day to day."
Thomas was starting in both the base and nickel defenses and Warren was the Broncos' biggest, most accomplished defensive tackle in the rotation.
"Those are two vital pieces that were going to be a part of this defense," Vickerson said. "We can't think about it. We've just got to keep on keeping on, and the next guy has got to be ready. That's why you can't have any weaknesses in your depth chart and you can't have anybody getting lax."
Warren, 30, missed all of last season with a hip injury and a surgery to repair his torn triceps could threaten not only his season but his career.
Warren was especially excited for the Broncos' preseason opener at Dallas last week.
"I knew he was fired up and showed a lot of emotion because he got back on the field after a year off," Vickerson said. "I know it's kind of messing with him a little bit just because he's going through an injury like this, but hopefully it's not a season-ending injury and he can come back soon."
In other news, the Broncos released running back LenDale White. The former USC star never had the chance to play for his hometown team. He suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the final preseason game last year and missed the entire season.
He ran for 10 yards on four carries in the Broncos' preseason opener but hadn't been on the practice field enough to compete for a roster spot.
"It's just a tough injury for any NFL player to overcome, especially at running back, through a lockout. We couldn't supervise anything," general manager Brian Xanders said.
White's chances were also hurt when back spasms sidelined him for several days early in camp.
"We want all of our guys to compete 100 percent during practice," Xanders said.
Likely factoring into the move was the impressive play of Jeremiah Johnson, a second-year pro from Oregon who looks to be in line to back up Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee in the Broncos backfield.
The Broncos claimed LB Alvin Bowen and released LB A.J. Jones. ... TE Richard Quinn (knee), OL Stanley Daniels (ankle) and DB Syd'Quan Thompson (groin) didn't practice, and WR Eric Decker (foot) and DT Ronnell Brown (unspecified) didn't complete practice. Decker said his left foot, which was surgically repaired 18 months ago, was sore and he was just being cautious. He said he'll be back Wednesday.