ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who had started to carve out some playing time in the team's offense, is the latest Denver Broncos player headed for injured reserve, joining many of the team's most prominent players.
Okwuegbunam, a fourth-round pick by the Broncos last April, suffered a torn ACL on a 7-yard reception late in the third quarter of the Broncos' 34-27 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday -- his only catch of the game. Possessing a rare combination of size and speed -- his 4.59 40-yard dash at the scouting combine was faster than many of the wide receivers who ran in Indianapolis -- he was growing into more playing time each week after an early-season hip injury.
"The fortunate thing of it was it was just the ACL and the ACL only,'' Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "Many times when you get an ACL it involves some other ligaments, so his rehab and repair should go clean and he should be back as good as new next season.''
Okwuegbunam is the third player from the Broncos' 10-player draft class now on injured reserve. The Broncos' list of injuries this season has been a long one, with front-line players like Von Miller, Courtland Sutton, Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell and Elijah Wilkinson among their 12 players on IR.
The Broncos (3-5) will face the Raiders in Las Vegas Sunday. Asked Monday if he dreads the calls these days from the team's medical staff, given the injuries and multiple starters having been put on COVID-19/reserve at times this season as well, Fangio said:
"You just have to deal with it. A good carpenter doesn't blame his tools, he's just got to go get the job done and that's my mindset. ... I love all our players, they're out there busting their ass ... it's my job to give us solutions that will lead us to wins.''