ENGLEWOOD – Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton was a no-show at practice for the second straight day.

Orton was not present for the portion of practice that is open to the media. Orton has a sprained left ankle, and has one more chance to practice this week. The Broncos have a practice Friday, which is their final practice before Sunday’s game. Usually Friday’s practice is the lightest of the week. Most players don’t play if they haven’t practiced during the week, but McDaniels said he has no set rule on whether someone can play after not practicing.  

The Broncos are not giving up hope that Orton can play Sunday. The winner of the Broncos-Chargers game will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

“We’d love for him to be out there as soon as he can possibly be out there, and very hopeful he’s going to play,” McDaniels said.

Orton did not practice Wednesday either. Chris Simms replaced Orton in the second half of Sunday’s game against Washington and is in line to replace Orton if needed. Both quarterbacks were unavailable to the media today.

McDaniels sounded as if the Broncos are hoping for an improvement in Orton’s ankle the next few days. Orton couldn’t practice, but McDaniels didn’t want to make his decision based on how Orton felt today.

“He’s feeling better,” McDaniels said. “We’re going to see if he can do much today, then continue on his rehab schedule. Certainly not making any determinations based on where he’s at now.”

McDaniels said Simms practiced well Wednesday, and seemed to gain confidence as the session went on. Simms completed only three passes for 13 yards in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Washington.

Orton said Wednesday that he wants to get back on the field as soon as he is physically able.

"I came back last year as soon as I could and I’ll do the same this year," Orton said.