Loss of Five Denver Broncos Defensive Starters Hurt Team In Super Bowl XLVIII


Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) grabs his right knee against the Houston Texans during the first half at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos obviously had a lot of points put up against them in Super Bowl XLVIII. There’s no doubt about that.

What many people forget is that the Broncos were without five of their defensive starters. Linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Chris Harris were lost for the season with torn ACL’s. Defensive end Derek Wolfe never returned after his seizure-like episode in late November. Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson was lost for the year with a dislocated hip. Last but not least, safety Rahim Moore never returned after having leg surgery to fix his lateral compartment syndrome, which is a circulatory condition.

Every team in the NFL suffers their fair share of injuries, but those dings really hurt the Broncos in the most important game of the season.

A quick update on each:

Miller had surgery in early January, and a surgeon from world-renowned James Andrews’ group performed the procedure. His recovery time is anywhere from six to nine months, which should have him ready to go sometime during the beginning of the season.

Harris is set to have his ACL repaired on Thursday by the same orthopedics office. He reportedly has a grade three tear, which makes his recovery time shorter than Miller’s.

During Super Bowl week, Wolfe told reporters that he’s feeling much better. Wolfe suffered a scary neck injury in preseason, he had food poisoning during training camp, he had that seizure-like episode in November, and then he had the flu around Christmas time. It was just not his year to remain on the field. Expect Wolfe to work with team doctors and nutritionists this off season so that he’s feeling like his old self.

Vickerson said that he should be ready by the time OTA’s and training camp begin. He’s started rehabbing his hip, and now he’s working on gaining strength back.

“It was very emotional, very emotional,” Vickerson said of having to watch from the sidelines at the Super Bowl. “I couldn’t hold back some of my tears pregame. I think it was just wanting to play, wanting to be there, wanting to be out there with the guys.”

Moore never got the chance to redeem himself in the playoffs. He certainly got the job done in the secondary when he was able to play in the regular season. His 44 tackles and two interceptions provided the Broncos with more stability in that area.

Having those players back and 100% will go a long ways in the Broncos 2014 season. Now if only more could be done to keep those guys healthy from here on out.

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