ENGLEWOOD – Kyle Orton wants to play Sunday. First, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback will have to practice.

Orton was not on the field for the portion of today’s practice that is open to the media. Nobody on the Broncos has ruled out Orton practicing this week. Orton said his situation was “day-to-day.”

Orton, at his normal midweek press conference, said he hopes to play in a critical game against San Diego. He missed the second half of Sunday’s game at Washington with a left ankle injury.

“I sure hope so,” Orton said of his chances of playing against the Chargers. “That’s the goal. I’m going to do everything I can to be on the field Sunday.”

According to The Associated Press, Orton has torn ligaments in the ankle. Orton said the ankle has improved since he injured it Sunday on the final offensive play of the first half against the Bears, although he hasn’t tried to do too much on it.

Backup quarterback Chris Simms said he is unsure what will happen during the week in practice or if he’ll start, because it will depend on how Orton feels.

“He just said it’s feeling better and better every day he wakes up,” Simms said. “We’ll see.”

Orton said the ankle injury is different than the one that forced him to miss a game last year. Last season, when he was with the Bears, he hurt his right ankle, which is his plant leg when he throws. The injury also was a high ankle sprain, and although he said today that the injury is “not the same type of thing,” he wouldn’t say if it was a high ankle sprain.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who didn’t shed much light on Orton’s chances of playing this week, said he won’t change the normal repetitions in practice much, although he mentioned the possibility of rookie third-string quarterback Tom Brandstater getting a few more plays in practice if Orton is out or limited. If Orton feels good enough to practice, he will take a majority of the repetitions.

“If Kyle can practice, he will,” McDaniels said. “If he can’t practice or he’s limited to some degree, Chris will take the reps we feel he needs to take just to be ready to go in case we have to play him this week. If Kyle can’t practice, he’ll take most of the reps, just like Kyle would.”