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NFL notes: Broncos lose Devontae Booker to wrist injury for six weeks

Broncos running back Devontae Booker tries to evade Chargers linebacker Joshua Perry during a game last season.
(Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)

Broncos coach Vance Joseph’s first training camp got off to a rough start with word that Devontae Booker, who was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as Denver’s starting running back, will undergo wrist surgery Friday and is expected to miss six weeks.

Booker suffered a hairline fracture late in OTAs but he and the team thought it was just a minor sprain until the Broncos did X-rays Wednesday when he reported for his training camp physical.

“And it was a wrist fracture,” Joseph said. “So, it’s obviously been there for a couple of months and we didn’t know and he didn’t know.”

It wasn’t something Booker tried to keep from the team, either.

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“No, he didn’t hide it. It was a football nick, he thought. It wasn’t anything serious. He went home for the summer, he couldn’t bench press. He came back, we X-rayed it and it was fractured,” Joseph said.

“And, guys, he can play with this. But the concern is his long-term health. That bone can die and his hand can be kind of messed up forever. So, we didn’t want that for the kid.”

The setback marred the offseason for the second-year pro who had a solid spring in bouncing back from a rough rookie season that followed two knee surgeries. It will be hard for Booker to unseat Anderson now.

The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus last season, while Jamaal Charles slowly works his way into action after missing most of the last two seasons in Kansas City with leg injuries.

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Booker led the Broncos with 174 carries for 612 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 after Anderson went on IR after getting hurt in the seventh game.

With Booker shelved, the Broncos agreed to terms with free agent running back Stevan Ridley on a one-year deal. He’ll join a backfield with Anderson, veteran Juwan Thompson, rookie De’Angelo Henderson and free agent Bernard Pierce.

“I feel bad for Book,” Joseph said. “He’s put so much work in. He’s ready to make a push. He had a great spring.”

In other training camp news:

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-- The New York Jets have claimed running back-kick returner Marcus Murphy off waivers from the New Orleans Saints and waived running back Brandon Wilds.

-- Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones accepted his one-game suspension for an offseason misdemeanor conviction, and he got emotional Thursday over the unwavering support he’s received from Bengals owner Mike Brown.

-- The Pittsburgh Steelers and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva have agreed to a four-year contract that will keep the former Army Ranger protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s blindside for the rest of the decade. Details of the contract were not released.

-- Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden says he doesn’t believe Jordan Reed’s toe injury is serious and expects the tight end to be back on the field next week. The Redskins placed Reed on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.

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-- Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has retired from the NFL after just three seasons. Urschel, a former fifth round pick from Penn State in 2014, received attention for pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason. He started 13 games over the last three seasons and was expected to compete for a starting role at center or guard.


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