ENGLEWOOD | Broncos coach Vance Joseph’s first training camp got off to a rough start Thursday with word that Devontae Booker, who was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as the Denver Broncos’ starting running back, will undergo wrist surgery Friday and is expected to miss six weeks.
Booker suffered a hairline fracture during OTAs in June, marring a solid spring for the second-year pro as he bounced back from a rough rookie season that followed two knee surgeries.
The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus that sidelined him over the last half of last season, while Jamaal Charles slowly worked his way into action.
Charles, coming off two injury-filled seasons that led to his release from the Kansas City Chiefs this spring, has been cleared for full contact but the Broncos are being cautious with the 30-year-old free agent.
“He’s been injured for a year and a half and it’s our job to get Jamaal as healthy as he can be,” Joseph said Wednesday. “If he gets back to being Jamaal, we’ve got something special there.”
The Broncos were hoping the same for Booker, who led the team with 174 carries for 612 yards and four touchdowns last season after Anderson went on IR after getting hurt in the seventh game.
Veteran Juwan Thompson, rookie De’Angelo Henderson and free agent Bernard Pierce will get more work in Booker’s absence.
If Booker’s recovery goes well, he’ll be back in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11.