At first glance, Broncos right guard Chris Kuper’s left ankle injury in the second half of the Broncos’ win over the Bengals on Sunday afternoon looked to be similar to the gruesome broken leg he suffered in January against the Chiefs. And while Kuper didn’t suffer a broken bone as initially feared, the key offensive lineman is expected to miss time with a severely sprained left ankle.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported on Sunday after the Broncos win that while x-rays came back negative, Kuper has the bad ankle sprain which will likely keep him away from the field for at least a few weeks. Kuper isn’t expected to miss the rest of the season, however.
Manny Ramirez, who filled in for Kuper on Sunday and the first five games of the season in Kuper’s first absence, is expected to start until he returns.
A Broncos official told CBS 4′s Gary Miller that the x-rays of the ankle were “ok”, according to Miller on Twitter, just after the Broncos sealed the 31-23 win. Mile High Sports’ Andrew Mason tweeted that John Fox said in his post-game press conference that Fox said there were no broken bones in the x-ray.
Kuper suffered an absolutely disgusting broken leg on New Year’s Day in a loss to the Chiefs in the Broncos’ regular season finale, and Kuper had to be carted off the field in similar fashion on Sunday. Initial fears were that Kuper could have broken a bone and possibly missed the rest of the year. But those fears appear to have eased after x-rays showed that the ankle wasn’t broken, a big sigh of relief for a Broncos offensive line that only welcomed Kuper from injury (a broken left forearm) last month.
However, the ankle sprain will keep the Broncos’ second-most experienced offensive lineman away from the field for a significant amount of time, it appears. Peyton Manning hasn’t been sacked in five games, but that streak could be in jeopardy against a solid Panthers’ front four and now, the loss of Kuper.