ENGLEWOOD - There weren't any pads at this practice. No clouds, either. And Derek Wolfe couldn't have been happier.
"It's funny how much you really don't like to practice until you can't do it anymore. And then you're just dying to get out there again," Wolfe said Tuesday after his first practice with the Denver Broncos since his arms and legs went numb following a frightening hit in a preseason game at Seattle on Aug. 17.
"That whole time you're just thinking I could have been done for good but now that I'm not, I want to get out there bad," he said.
Showing his neck was fine, Wolfe swiveled his head from side to side on the podium, a far cry from the night he was strapped to a backboard and taken off the field in an ambulance amid fears he had a cervical spine injury that would keep him off the football field and maybe off his feet forever.
"Oh yeah, I have pretty good movement," he said. "It feels fine; my neck wasn't getting tired carrying a helmet around or anything. It's feeling pretty good. We'll see how it feels when we get some pads on, though."
Coach John Fox smiled when talking about Wolfe's return.
"Looking back a couple of weeks that was a pretty scary proposition for him, and really for anybody in that stadium, especially anybody on our sideline. So it's a blessing," Fox said.
The second-year defensive end said he won't play in the Broncos' preseason finale Thursday. However barring any setbacks, he plans to be in the lineup when Denver opens the regular season Sept. 5 at home against Baltimore.
Also returning to practice were defensive end Robert Ayers (foot) and cornerback Omar Bolden.
The Broncos reached the 75-player roster limit by putting S Quinton Carter (knee) on IR for the second straight year and placing C J.D. Walton (knee) on reserve/PUP.