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Russell Wilson returns to practice 4 days after injection


AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Russell Wilson threw passes at practice Tuesday without any apparent discomfort or restrictions just four days after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in Los Angeles to treat a strained muscle near his throwing shoulder.

Wilson strained the latissimus dorsi, the large, flat muscle on the back that stretches to the sides and behind the arms, on his right side near his throwing shoulder in a 32-23 loss to the Raiders on Oct. 2.

He played through the injury four days later in a 12-9 overtime loss to the Colts, then flew to L.A. for the injection in hopes of relieving the discomfort.

Wilson briefly mentioned “battling” shoulder discomfort in his postgame comments, but didn’t blame the injury for his poor performance in which he completed just 21 of 39 passes, threw two big interceptions and didn’t see a wide-open KJ Hamler on the final play in overtime.

“Now that you guys know that he’s been battling an injury, the cool thing about Russell is that it wasn’t something that he let everyone know,” left guard Dalton Risner said. “It wasn’t something that he was complaining about during the week. He wanted to … help us get a win.”

Wilson’s injury is more commonly seen in baseball players and typically is treated with ice and a break from any exercise.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a similar injury that sidelined him for most of the Cowboys’ training camp last year when he didn’t throw for a month to let his injury heal.

The Broncos (2-3) don’t anticipate Wilson having to miss any games.

“Russell’s a very tough human being,” coach Nathaniel Hackett said Tuesday. “He’s not going to miss anything. He wants to be out there competing for this team. So we’ll just make sure that we take care of him, do the right thing to get him to as close to 100% as we can.”

The Broncos visit the Chargers (3-2) on Monday night.

That’ll be the Broncos’ fourth prime-time game this season, and that nationwide TV exposure has fueled widespread criticism of the Hackett-Wilson partnership that’s produced a sputtering offense averaging just 14.6 points per game.

Broadcast networks had been expecting Wilson and the Broncos to produce big numbers and immediate success such as Matthew Stafford had with the Rams last year and Tom Brady had with the Buccaneers the year before.

Instead they’ve gotten bad decisions by both Hackett and Wilson, fans mockingly counting down the play clock in Denver and fans streaming to the exits before the overtime coin toss last week.

Wilson next meets with reporters on Thursday, where he’ll certainly be asked about his tweet Saturday that quoted Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Hackett said he wasn’t aware of the tweet or whether his quarterback was referring to the Broncos’ rough start or his own struggles in adjusting to his new team.

“Russell’s a competitor, and he knows that we’re not where we want to be,” Hackett said. “I know that he wants to do everything in his power to get this offense, this team, to where we all want to be. We are 2-3, we are who we are. We need to get better, and he knows that and he’s going to do everything in his power to get us there.”

Hackett added that he didn’t think his team was in a dark place.

“I think it’s a beautiful day,” Hackett said. “I’m here with everybody here. There is a lot of improvement to be done. Whenever you know that there’s improvement that can happen, you know that there’s going to be a lot of improvement.”

Wilson, the former Seahawks star who was dealt to Denver in a blockbuster trade in March for a package of players and picks, has just four TD passes through five games.

By any metric, he is among the worst passers in the league in 2022, which is bringing scrutiny to the new ownership group that gave him a $245 million contract extension before he played his first down with the Broncos.

Wilson has completed 59.4% of his throws, has been sacked 16 times and is 2 for 18 on throws into the end zone. He’s also been victimized by 10 dropped passes, second most in the league.

“Too much pressing,” Hackett said. “Everybody wants to make a play. Everybody is looking to do something a little bit more. In the end, it’s about fundamentals and the basics. Just securing the catch and getting the yards up the field, instead of trying to explode out on something.

“As we start getting those drops out and get those demons out, the guys will get better.”

NOTES; The Broncos have to replace LS Jacob Bobenmoyer (hand/wrist). … S Justin Simmons (thigh), TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring) and CB Michael Ojemudia (dislocated elbow) all practiced Tuesday in hopes of coming off IR this weekend.


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