Injury update: Wade Smith pushing for opener

Injury update: Wade Smith pushing for opener
August 21, 2013, 2:45 pm
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(Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

While Arian Foster returned to practice on Wednesday, three starters are still out with injuries.

Wade Smith (knee), DeAndre Hokins (concussion) and Whitney Mercilus (hamstring) were all held out again.

But Smith, who had an arthroscopic surgery last week on his knee, isn’t necessarily out for the opener against the Chargers on Sept. 9.

“He’s doing great,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “Obviously, we don’t bring him out here; we leave him inside. I’m not worried about Wade knowing what to do. We’re pushing really hard toward opening day with him. He’s doing everything he can possibly do to get there.”

Kubiak said there is a “chance” Smith will be ready for the opener but the real test will come when Smith gets back on the practice field working with trainers. Kubiak said that’s the next step. If he isn’t ready, it seems like Ben Jones or rookie David Quessenberry would start.

Hopkins, who suffered a concussion in Saturday’s game, is still in the first phase of the five-phase post-concussion protocol. Kubiak didn’t rule out Hopkins for Sunday’s game against the Saints, saying all five stages could still be completed in time.

Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who has been out since early in training camp, with a hamstring injury, is close to a return.

“Whitney is very, very close to getting back out here too,” Kubiak said. “If anything, I think we had 82 guys on the field today. I think that’s the most we’ve had since we opened training camp.”