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|With aging starter Willis McGahee ill-suited to handle a full workload in a Denver offense that will rely on the passing game far more than it did in 2011 and Knowshon Moreno at a career crossroads due to injuries, ineffectiveness and off the field issues, the Broncos used a 3rd round pick to acquire Hillman. At 5’9” and 200 pounds, Hillman doesn’t have prototypical size but he may possess enough quickness, speed and lateral agility to eventually start in the Denver backfield. But that’s not likely to happen with Willis McGahee coming off a solid season in 2011. As with all rookie running backs, Hillman will need to prove his worth as a pass blocker in order to earn significant playing time, especially so with Peyton Manning having missed all of 2011 due to injury. Hillman rates as a high-end RB4 with upside in 2011 and move him higher in leagues that utilize the PPR scoring system. As a dynasty prospect, Hillman has a solid chance to earn the starting role as early as next season making him a valuable commodity.
Comment: Hillman has been bothered by a hamstring injury during camp.
| Montee Ball likely to miss several weeks -- Mon Oct 6 6:30 pm --|
|Broncos running back Montee Ball will not require surgery to repair the strained groin he suffered during a non-contact play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
However, Ball is expected to be sidelined several weeks, according to two NFL sources. Ball underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday.
FF Today's Take: While HC John Fox would only say that he would "kind of update" the media on Wednesday, ESPN's Jeff Legwold reported that the second-year back's teammates expected him to miss 2-3 weeks. Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, who was inactive in Week 5 because he doesn't play special teams, figure to get the first shot at leading a likely committee backfield while Ball is out. Impressive UDFA Juwan Thompson could also be in the mix as well.
| Montee Ball released from hospital -- Thu Aug 7 3:10 pm --|
Still expected to be ready for season opener
|Broncos RB Montee Ball was released from a local hospital and was recovering at his Denver-area home Wednesday, two days after undergoing an appendectomy. The first week after any surgical procedure always is the toughest, and it's uncertain whether Ball will be able to attend the Broncos' preseason opener Thursday night.
There is hope Ball will be able to get a tuneup carry or two in the Broncos' third preseason game, although that might be ambitious. The Broncos are confident Ball will play in their season opener Sept. 7, however. (Denver Post)|
FF Today's Take: It would be unwise for the Broncos to push Ball to play in the third preseason game, since he has little to gain and a lot to lose. Owners need to keep expectations in check for the first week or two of the regular season as well since he may just be getting back into "football shape" at that point. Ronnie Hillman is expected to start Thursday's preseason opener.
| Ball to undergo appendectomy on Monday -- Mon Aug 4 4:15 pm --|
Expected to ready for Week 1
|Broncos RB Montee Ball will undergo an appendectomy today but is expected to be ready for regular-season opener vs. Colts, per source. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: Some athletes have returned quickly from appendectomies - Titans LG Andy Levitre was cleared to practice about two weeks after his late July surgery - but the normal recovery period is 4-6 weeks. While Ball should be expected to go for the opener, it should come as a surprise if he begins the regular season a bit slow. Ronnie Hillman is reportedly ahead of C.J. Anderson for the backup job, so stay tuned.