USATSI

At 1-3, with some of their biggest contributors sidelined due to injuries, the Denver Broncos could use as much help as they can get going into Monday’s matchup with the New England Patriots. It turns out they just might get reinforcements at the most important position. A day after starting quarterback Drew Lock returned to practice for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the signal-caller was back on the field for a second straight day Thursday, suggesting there’s at least an outside chance he returns to the lineup when Denver visits New England.

Mike Klis, of 9News, reported Wednesday that Lock has been “progressing well” in his recovery from the injury, noting that the QB had been throwing the ball in the days leading up to his official return to practice. The former second-round draft pick has been “doing all he can to get back” sooner rather than later, Klis added, and the Broncos confirmed both Wednesday and Thursday that Lock has been throwing despite being listed as a limited participant.

Friday and Saturday sessions figure to go a long way in determining just how feasible it is for Lock to return against the Patriots, but at least another limited practice or two would likely lead to a questionable designation for this week’s game, which was originally scheduled for Sunday. While the team recently signed veteran free agent Blake Bortles and managed to get its first win in Week 4 with third-stringer Brett Rypien under center, the Broncos have made it clear that the 23-year-old Lock is their surest ticket back to contention.

“This is Drew Lock’s team,” Rypien told reporters this week. “Drew Lock has been the leader of this franchise for the past year, and he’s done an unbelievable job at that.”

Even if Lock were cleared to take the field against New England, of course, the Broncos’ Week 5 game could be dependent upon the Patriots’ COVID-19 test results of the coming days. The NFL has already postponed it from Sunday to Monday as a result of multiple positive COVID cases surfacing in New England, and the Patriots are currently only meeting virtually in preparation for the game.

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