Ronnie Hillman will start at RB against Colts, but Broncos will still split carries

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In Gary Kubiak’s mind, the Denver Broncos' rotation at running back is not a 1-2 punch, but rather a 1-1 punch, and that’s the way it will stay as long as the Broncos continue to get the results they’ve had over the last four games.

Ronnie Hillman got his first start of the season in last Sunday night’s victory over the Green Bay Packers -- just the fifth start of his career -- and Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday that Hillman will be the starter again this Sunday at the Indianapolis Colts.

But, he added, after Hillman and C.J. Anderson combined for 161 yards rushing -- Denver officially finished with 160 yards rushing after a carry for minus-1 by Juwan Thompson -- the Broncos will continue to split carries between the two backs. Asked Thursday if he still sees both running backs as starters, Kubiak said: “Oh yeah, absolutely. Ronnie will start the game, just like last week. But I see them both as 1s, they played pretty much right down the middle. We know how C.J. responded."

“They both played very, very well," said Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. “ ... They’re both going to see the ball, they’re both going to get their touches."

Anderson had 14 carries for 101 yards to go with one touchdown against the Packers, while Hillman had 19 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Anderson’s 100-yard effort was the third 100-yard rushing game for a Broncos running back over the last four games. Hillman had 103 yards rushing against the Minnesota Vikings and 111 yards against the Cleveland Browns.

Over the last four games, the Broncos have indeed split the workload as Anderson has had 49 carries while Hillman has had 57 carries.

"When you're in there, you just try to do the most with every carry," Hillman said. "That's it, go in when they tell you, get some yards and come out when they tell you. We all just want to win, you know. C.J. can get those yards, too."

Hillman is working through a thigh injury this week -- he suffered it in the second half of Sunday night’s game -- and was limited in practice Thursday. Kubiak said, however, that Hillman is expected to be a full participant in Friday’s practice and will start Sunday.

“He took a pretty good shot, and it bothered him, and he worked through it," Kubiak said. “He’s got a bad bruise. He’s just got to play through it, work through it. Little cold (Thursday), little tougher to do."