Battered Broncos hold eight players out of practice

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos practiced Wednesday without pads or helmets, but eight players were held out due to injuries.

Demaryius Thomas (right ankle), tight end Jacob Tamme (ribs), running back C.J. Anderson (left ankle) and wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle) were among the regulars who did not participate Wednesday. Six more players, including tight end Julius Thomas (left ankle), safety David Bruton Jr. (groin) and cornerback Kayvon Webster, were also limited in the practice.

When asked, after reading the list of names, if it would have been easier to simply say who did practice fully, head coach John Fox said, “I considered it."

The injuries, however, are not considered serious enough to keep any of those players out of Sunday’s AFC West showdown with the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos can clinch their fourth consecutive division and the playoff spot that comes with it with a win and Demaryius Thomas, Anderson, Welker, Tamme and Bruton are all expected to be ready to play Sunday.

The Broncos continue to hope Julius Thomas, who was in uniform for the win over the Buffalo Bills but did not play a snap, will be ready to play Sunday in San Diego as well.

“We’re trying to finish strong," Fox said. “ … It’s at the point of the season you want guys fresh, their health and restoration off a long season is the most important … We had an early bye, a lot of reasons. I thought their focus was great (Wednesday), thought we had a great practice."

Also notable among the players limited in Wednesday’s practice was running back Ronnie Hillman. Hillman’s participation was his first since suffering a left foot injury Nov. 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Hillman has missed the past four games. Linebacker Danny Trevathan, who is currently practicing but still on injured reserve/designated to return and eligible to play Sunday if the Broncos move him back on the roster, also practiced.