Unfortunately, injuries are part of the NFL. Some are worse than others, but none are more scary then when a player has to be taken off the field in a stretcher. That was the case this past pre-season for Derek Wolfe, who was carted off with what was believed to be a serious injury.
As it turned out, Wolfe managed to avoid significant injury, and was on the field for the Broncos opening night against the Baltimore Ravens, and he played a big role for the Denver defense up until the first game of December. As the team was getting set to head to Kansas City, Wolfe suffered what is described as “seizure-like” symptoms, and he has scarce seen the practice field since, much less getting into game action.
To my knowledge, the Broncos haven’t confirmed directly whether or not Wolfe’s unfortunate injury against Seattle in the pre-season was the cause for his recent absence, but there’s a chance doctors haven’t even confirmed that either.
Still, you have to wonder if Wolfe is suffering from lingering effects of that injury, adding to a bizarre year of injuries and ailments for this Denver Broncos team.
The question of why the Broncos haven’t just put Wolfe on injured reserve has been bothering me lately, since you’d think the team would want an able body out there for the most critical time of the year.
I can think of a few reasons why the Broncos wouldn’t rush to put Wolfe on IR, and the main reason being that he could very well come back from this injury. Wolfe is one of the toughest players on the Broncos’ roster. He’s a very hard worker and if he can be back out there, he will be.
The Broncos expect to be playing into February, so why put Wolfe on injured reserve if he could contribute, even for the last game of the season?
Other reasons the Broncos might be waiting on moving Wolfe to IR is that they are fine with their depth as it is, and don’t feel like signing somebody is going to do them any good while they have to have seven guys inactive on gamedays anyway.
The Broncos use a combination of Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips, Malik Jackson, and other guys on the defensive line with Wolfe out, and that has been a combination that has worked.
For the conspirators, another reason might be that the Broncos are trying to hide something more serious. By keeping the option of Wolfe playing later in the season on the table, the Broncos don’t have to answer questions about his long-term health.
Still, this is an odd situation for any team to be facing, and you obviously wish the best for Wolfe. He seems like a great guy who can really contribute to a Super Bowl team, and the Broncos would obviously like to see him on the field sooner rather than later. You can’t rush these kinds of things where you really don’t know what will happen, so keeping Wolfe out is a good move by the Broncos for his short term health, long term health, and ultimately their success.