Their immediate concern is Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Anderson damaged the meniscus in his knee and the best-case scenario is that he just misses multiple games, but is able to return to the lineup this season.
The worst-case scenario is Anderson suffered a full cartilage tear that requires a more significant repair. He would then have to be placed on injured reserve and miss the rest of the season. In betwee,n Anderson could go to injured reserve and be brought back off the list, but league rules say he could not return to practice for six weeks and could not play in games for eight weeks.
In the end, no matter how it goes, the Broncos have nine games remaining and a bye week. That means, in the near future, as in this weekend, the Broncos will have to decide if Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs would be the only running backs available for the Chargers game, to go with fullback Andy Janovich.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has often said he prefers three running backs to be available for each game, in addition to a fullback, but said after practice Thursday he would go with two if the Broncos felt that was the best decision this week.
“I’ve done that, many times, we’ll see,’’ Kubiak said. “It’s going to affect us in special teams and other things that are going on.’’
Booker will get the start. The fourth-round pick from this past April’s draft had already powered himself into a backfield-by-committee role with Anderson. The Broncos like what he’s done in the run game and he has hands like a receiver in the passing game, so Kubiak has said “we’ll see how much he can handle’’ as Booker is expected to get the majority of the work in any and all down-and-distance situations.
Bibbs, too, is a prospect the Broncos have nurtured. Bibbs, who rushed for 1,741 yards at Colorado State in 2013, has spent most of the previous two seasons on the Broncos’ practice squad. In training camp Kubiak said “now’s the time for Kapri’’ to make the roster and Bibbs did just that.
Kubiak said Thursday he does likes the prospect of a Booker-Bibbs tandem in some fashion.
“I’m excited to see him play,’’ Kubiak said. “... He’s a better player this year than he was last year for us. And he’s going to have an opportunity now. So, I think as a coach you’re excited to see a guy, you know, you’ve earned the opportunity, now let’s go see how you play.’’
The Broncos are coming off their best rushing game of the season with 190 yards against the Houston Texans as Anderson finished with 107 yards -- his first career 100-yard rushing game before Halloween in any of his seasons -- and Booker had 83 yards.
And with that performance the Broncos went from 19th in the league to 16th.
“This is where you find out a lot about the depth of your team,’’ Kubiak said. “ … That’s what this league is about, it’s gonna happen, it’s how you respond and guys stepping up.’’