Patrick caught a pass during team drills Tuesday in front of cornerback Essang Bassey, and as Patrick turned to run upfield, his leg buckled and he grabbed his knee as he fell to the ground. Several teammates, including wide receiver Courtland Sutton and quarterback Russell Wilson, immediately surrounded Patrick as he was examined by the team's trainers.
Patrick, who led the team in touchdown receptions last season and was slated to be one of the team's top three wide receivers in the rotation, was then helped onto a cart and taken to the locker room.
"Guy like Tim ... it breaks your heart," Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said before test results revealed the full extent of the injury. "The worst part of this game is when things like this happen.'
"Tim's a guy that's well respected across this team, across this league," Hackett added.
The Broncos stopped practice until Patrick was helped from the field. Safety Kareem Jackson, who is in his 13th NFL season, said it was a testament to Patrick's standing among his teammates that it was "the longest I've seen practice kind of held [up]."
Patrick was third on the team in receptions last season with 53 and led the team in touchdown catches with five. He has risen from being signed off waivers by the Broncos in 2017, having been waived by the Broncos as well later that year, to special teams stalwart in his early time with the team, to one of its key receivers in the offense.
He signed a three-year, $30 million deal last November.
"It hurts," Sutton said Tuesday after practice. "To see a guy who works his butt off all offseason, his preparation is second to none. ... [We're] praying for the best ... as we sit and wait."
This will be the third consecutive season the Broncos have lost one of their top receivers to injury. Sutton suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, and KJ Hamler suffered a torn ACL as well as a hip injury in Week 3 last season.
Running back Damarea Crockett confirmed late Tuesday afternoon on Twitter that he also suffered a torn ACL during practice. Crockett, who played in 12 games last season, had been working as the No. 4 back thus far in camp behind Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone.