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Gazette Premium Content Broncos notes: Injuries are piling up

FRANK SCHWAB Updated: August 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

With two weeks remaining before the regular season, the Denver Broncos are struggling with some injury issues.

Right guard Chris Kuper suffered a scary looking right leg injury in the first quarter. He could not put weight on his leg as he was taken off the field and to the locker room for further tests. Rookie Seth Olsen replaced Kuper.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels wouldn’t comment on the severity of Kuper’s injury.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney missed Sunday’s game with a right thumb injury. The Denver Post reported his thumb is broken, which could keep him out a while.

Chad Jackson took his spot in the starting lineup.

“Jabar, he’s a very integral part of our offense,” quarterback Kyle Orton said. “We’ll hopefully get him back as soon as possible.”

Orton left the game with a cut on his right index finger. He said he would be ready for the season opener.

Running backs Knowshon Moreno and LaMont Jordan, quarterback Chris Simms and defensive linemen Marcus Thomas and Le Kevin Smith also missed the game with injuries.

Special teams battles

Brett Kern took the first four punts in Sunday’s game, but his final punt was returned 54 yards by Devin Hester, setting up a 4-yard touchdown drive by Denver. Britton Colquitt took over punting duties after that and hit a couple nice kicks. His first punt was downed at the 2-yard line, his second went 58 yards and landed out of bounds at the 1.

Denver also juggled kick returners, because rookie Alphonso Smith has had issues with ball security. Peyton Hillis returned kickoffs, and had a 42-yard return. Eddie Royal began the game on punt returns, but was replaced by Smith in the first half.

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