ENGLEWOOD – If Chris Simms has to start at quarterback for the Denver Broncos on Sunday, he should be sufficiently prepared for the moment.

Last week Simms played in relief of injured Kyle Orton after not getting any repetitions with the starting offense leading up to the game. Simms has already had two practices with the first team this week, because Orton missed his second straight practice Thursday with a left ankle injury. The Broncos offense could be short-handed at running back too, after Correll Buckhalter (knee) and LaMont Jordan (back) missed practice Thursday.

Orton’s chances of playing diminish with every practice he misses, although the Broncos will wait to determine his status for Sunday’s game against San Diego. The good news is Simms looked sharp in practice Wednesday, according to coach Josh McDaniels.

“I think as practice went on, you could see there was a little juice to him,” McDaniels said. “He got confident, and more confident – it was good to see that.”

Simms wasn’t sharp in his first game action, with 13 yards in the second half. He wasn’t allowed by the Broncos public-relations staff to speak with reporters Thursday, but on Wednesday he said practice would aid his timing.

“A few reps will definitely help things out,” Simms said.

If Simms starts, it would complete an amazing comeback. His last start was Sept. 24, 2006, and he nearly died after rupturing his spleen in that game. McDaniels said players and coaches are well aware of what he went through to get to this point.

“I can see every day why he has overcome it,” McDaniels said. “He works as hard, or harder, than anybody we have on our team. His attitude is phenomenal.”


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