The Broncos have played the past two weeks without their starting tackles, and they lost their top backup to injury early in a Week 12 win over the Chargers. Calvin Anderson will end up missing time, but his season is not certain to be over.
Anderson is set to land on IR, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, but the young blocker is not expected to need surgery on his knee and ankle injuries. A three- to five-week recovery timetable is in the cards here, Klis adds, putting Anderson in position to return late this season. Such a return would make sense should the Broncos still be in contention for a playoff spot around the holidays.
Tendering Anderson as an ERFA this offseason, Denver had him in place as its swing tackle behind Garett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James. While James’ Achilles tear changed Denver’s plans at right tackle, leading to Bobby Massie coming in, Anderson has remained an important cog as more injuries hit the Broncos’ offensive front during the season.
A former UDFA who played at Rice and Texas, Anderson has started the past three Broncos games and was a first-stringer in two games last season. Anderson has logged starts at both left and right tackle. Anderson and guard Dalton Risner‘s midgame exits left the Broncos with just one starter left on their O-line — center Lloyd Cushenberry — but they are positioned to be in better shape in Week 13.
The Broncos are expected to have Bolles and Risner back for their pivotal game against the Chiefs on Sunday night, Klis notes, lessening this Anderson injury blow. Bolles has missed time due to injury and a COVID-19 contraction. He remains on Denver’s reserve/COVID-19 list. It is not certain Massie (ankle) will be able to return to his right tackle post. Fellow mid-offseason pickup Cameron Fleming has started the Broncos’ past two games at right tackle.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.