Bradley Chubb says rehab has been 'weird' in a near-empty Broncos' facility

Will NFL teams struggle to follow safety protocols? (1:26)

Rob Ninkovich foresees it being very difficult for teams to adhere to the NFL's safety procedures for the reopening of facilities. (1:26)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For weeks, Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb has had more than his share of quiet time.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Chubb has been one of the few Broncos to spend their days at the nearly empty team facility. Chubb has been rehabbing his left knee since he tore his ACL in the Broncos' Week 4 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When stay-at-home orders went into effect earlier this year, the NFL closed its facilities to everyone except players already in medical rehab and a few trainers. It meant Chubb was still going to work each day at the Broncos' complex when others, including coaches and personnel people, were not.

"It was weird, just very quiet," Chubb said. "And it was some days people didn't feel like talking it would be a quiet room, just working out in a quiet room. We did a good job trying to make sure we had that same energy every day in training room, but it definitely wore on you seeing the same people over and over and doing the same thing over and over."

Chubb had surgery to repair the ligament in October and has been ramping up his rehab since. He has made progress, and coach Vic Fangio and linebacker Von Miller both seem optimistic about Chubb's return.

"It started out everything was normal, February, beginning of March," Chubb said.

But coronavirus changed all that. Miller himself testing positive for COVID-19. Chubb said he was in contact with Miller even as Chubb was in a largely unoccupied multi-building complex for much of the day, mostly interacting with trainer Vince Garcia.

Recently, though, things have picked up. The league has allowed teams to have up to 100 people in their buildings. For the Broncos, they will continue to split those 100 spots between the suburban practice complex and their stadium downtown. No players, other than those working with the medical staff, are included yet, but Fangio returned to work Friday and his assistant coaches returned this week.

For most players, participation in a downtown Black Lives Matter march was the most in-person interaction they'd had since the season's end. Chubb says it has helped him see the good fortune in recovering from an injury.

"It's trainers and like four guys now, it's still a small group," Chubb said. "Something we're very lucky to be able to do. ... Looking back when you see that stuff on the news, in the beginning I didn't know how serious it was. ... When Von got sick, it was like 'OK, this thing is serious,' everything he was going through, the symptoms he had, you could tell it was something people had to take serious."

Miller has recovered and the prospect of Chubb and Miller playing together under Fangio could be a major boost for the defense. New arrival Jurrell Casey -- the Broncos traded a seventh-round pick for the five-time Pro Bowl selection in March -- has called Miller and Chubb "amazing pass-rushers ... they're going to push the quarterback into the pocket and make the job easy [for me]. Nobody can complain about that, right?"

In a normal year, teams would be wrapping up their offseason programs by the end of this week. Right now, it's unclear if the NFL will allow teams to do any on-field work and no announcements have been made about what training camp or the regular season might look like.

Chubb said he hopes to be full speed, with no restrictions, whenever the Broncos get on the field.

"It's progressing like I want to, finding all the different type of things I can do on my own to make sure I'm the best the next day," Chubb said. ... "Trying to find all the small things I can do to make sure I'm 100%. Right now, I'm feeling good, doing a lot of different things, cutting wise, getting back into like position work. ... To see where I started off and where I am now is amazing [but] I'm ready to get back around my teammates."