Having already lost veteran linebacker DeMarcus Ware for a few weeks due to injury, the Broncos’ defense has been dealt another blow, as Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link) reports that a preliminary diagnosis shows that rookie pass-rusher Shane Ray suffered a sprained MCL. Ray will undergo an MRI, but it looks as though he’ll miss four-to-six weeks. Additionally, per Anderson, Denver wants to ensure that Ray didn’t injure his ACL.
Mounting injuries might the only thing that can slow down the Broncos’ defense, which currently ranks first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. Ware, as noted, missed today’s contest with a back strain, but he’s expected to return after Denver’s Week 7 bye. If he misses the full six weeks, Ray would be absent for key games against the Packers, Colts, and Patriots, returning in time for an intra-divisional matchup with the Chargers on December 6.
Denver traded up in the draft to select Ray, 22, in the first round out of Missouri earlier this year. He’s been a rotational player to this point, playing about a quarter of the Broncos’ defensive snaps, posting two sacks in the process. Shaquil Barrett, another reserve pass-rusher, will presumably see more playing time as Ray recovers.