December 2, 2022

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USATSI

The Broncos had reason to feed running back Javonte Williams during Sunday’s divisional game with the Raiders, as veteran counterpart Melvin Gordon fumbled for the fourth time in as many games. But now they’re without Williams indefinitely. The starting running back was ruled out of Week 4 with a knee injury after being carted off. Williams went down on the first play of the third quarter, on his 10th carry of the day, and was initially ruled questionable after visiting the sideline medical tent.

Williams is set to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the full extent of his ailment, per NFL Media, but the initial fear is that he suffered a serious injury. That suggests a trip to injured reserve, which would guarantee at least a four-game absence, is likely in order, although a truly severe knee issue could end up sidelining Williams for the remainder of the year.

Denver had been splitting backfield duties between Williams and Gordon, as they did in 2021, but the former has consistently been one of the Broncos’ toughest weapons. Best known for his tackle-breaking abilities, Williams appeared to have his knee twisted while going down early in the third quarter. The 2021 second-round pick was coming off a season-high 18 touches in Denver’s Week 3 victory over the 49ers, matching his total from Week 1, when he led the club with 11 catches.

With Williams absent, the Broncos initially leaned more on former Vikings reserve Mike Boone, after Gordon’s turnover streak continued. But Gordon, who topped 900 yards in each of the last two seasons for Denver, also figures to see an overall uptick in touches, with no other running backs currently available on the Broncos’ active roster.

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