Broncos expect Derek Wolfe, Jared Crick and Demaryius Thomas to be ready for opener

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick, who each played in just one preseason game because of ankle and back injuries respectively, were back on the practice field Monday.

The Broncos open the regular-season Sept. 11 – the final game of the opening weekend with a scheduled kickoff of 10:15 p.m. ET -- so they have some extra time they intend to use to not only prepare for the Chargers, but to make sure they have as healthy a depth chart as possible.

Wolfe and Crick haven’t practiced since mid-August, but the Broncos have intentionally pegged their return to this week throughout the preseason. The two took part in individual drills with the defensive linemen in Monday’s practice and will steadily ramp up the workload throughout the week.

Wolfe suffered a sprained right ankle on Aug. 12 in the Broncos’ morning practice, and initially there was at some fear Wolfe had done even more damage until X-rays showed Wolfe had not suffered a fracture. Crick was taken off the field two days later after he suffered back spasms during drills.

“They looked fine and hopefully we can progress with those guys on Wednesday,’’ said Broncos coach Vance Joseph on Monday. Asked if he expected Wolfe and Crick to play next Monday night against the Chargers, Joseph said: “Absolutely.’’

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who left the Broncos’ preseason game against Green Bay with a groin injury, was held out of practice as a precaution. He will return to practice later this week.

“He’s fine, it’s more precautionary for him,’’ Joseph said. “He’ll go Wednesday.’’

Asked if he expected Thomas to play against the Chargers, Joseph said: “Absolutely.’’