Normally, a late-round rookie running back getting hurt in training camp wouldn't be big news. But this is the Denver Broncos, who always seem to unearth a gem in the backfield that everyone else overlooked.
So, the mood was melancholy Wednesday when rookie Ryan Torain, a fifth-round draft pick out of Arizona State, broke a bone in his elbow during 9-on-7 drills.
"It's a big loss. A big loss," coach Mike Shanahan said, figuring Torain would miss 6-8 weeks, depending on the results of an MRI.
"I thought he had a chance to compete to be a starting running back. One of the most gifted running backs that I've been around for a long time. Very similar to Terrell Davis when he came in," Shanahan said.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was just as bummed to lose the 6-foot-1, 225-pound ball carrier.
"Really talented. I mean, he's a big guy, he's got good moves, he sees the field well, picked up the offense quickly, was protecting well," Cutler said. "I think he's still going to be a good back. I haven't heard what the prognosis is or how long he's going to be out, but he'll definitely help this team in the future, I'm sure."
Torain stayed down after being hit by linebackers Nate Webster and Jamie Winborn. As team doctors were leading him off the field, Torain collapsed to the grass behind the goal posts and stayed down for several minutes before sitting up. After several more minutes, he sat in the passenger seat of a cart and was taken for medical tests.
"I'm just hoping there's not too much ligament damage," Shanahan said.
With Torain down, undrafted rookie Anthony Alridge and Andre Hall, a second-year pro who ranked third on the team last year with 760 combined yards, mostly on kickoff returns, will push Selvin Young for snaps out of the backfield.
The Broncos signed 11-year veteran Michael Pittman in the offseason, but he's been moved to fullback.
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