ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The injuries keep coming for the Denver Broncos‘ offense as running back Theo Riddick, who was just signed a week ago to be a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, will now miss six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury.
Riddick suffered the injury in Thursday night’s preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks, his first preseason action with the team. Riddick played six snaps in the game as he finished with one carry for minus-2 yards and was targeted twice as a receiver but did not have a catch.
“He’ll probably miss a good bit of time,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said after Sunday’s practice. “It will probably drag into the regular season.”
A small fracture was discovered after the Broncos returned to Denver from Seattle and Fangio said he believed Riddick was injured on an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-2 with 2 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
It puts the Broncos in position to keep Riddick on the 53-man roster when cuts are made league-wide before the start of the regular season even though it is unlikely he will be ready to play in a game. To designate him to return from injured reserve he would have to be on the roster for at least Week 1 of the season and he would have to miss half of the season before he could return.
The Broncos have a crowded group at running back with Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker getting most of the work with the first- and second-team offenses before Riddick arrived. The Broncos had been using Riddick in long-yardage situations or third downs thus far, snaps that Booker will likely get in his absence.
Fullback Andy Janovich was also injured against the Seahawks and will miss several weeks as well. The Broncos have been forced to make several roster moves over the past two weeks just to get enough players on the field to practice as they’ve also dealt with several injuries at both wide receiver and tight end during training camp.
Asked Sunday if those injuries, with Riddick’s now included, will make roster decisions more difficult when the regular season begins, Fangio said: “It does … We’ve just got to deal with them.”
Riddick had shown a comfort level in the offense in his work in practice and he arrived as a player who had played more NFL games (84), has more career carries (288) and more receptions than any back on the Broncos’ roster. And he is the only Broncos player who has caught at least 50 passes in each of the past four seasons — Emmanuel Sanders had 47 catches in 2017.
“He’s had a good history in his career of being a good receiver out of the backfield and a good threat in that way,” Fangio said last week. “Obviously, we’ll see if we can fit him in that way. and he still has that going for him. He’s been a good receiver. I’ve seen him play the last four years in the same division.”