After tweaking his left rotator cuff while battling a blocker in the second quarter of the Broncos’ win over the Texans, Pat Surtain II is eager to get back for Denver’s primetime test against San Francisco.
Surtain, one of five Broncos starters who did not practice Wednesday, is Denver’s top cover cornerback. If he does play Sunday night at Empower Field, Surtain would encounter a talented 49ers receiving corps headlined by All-Pro Deebo Samuel and veteran Brandon Aiyuk.
“It depends on how I progress with treatment,” Surtain said. “I think it’s a high percent chance that I play… It was nothing serious, it was a minor injury, and of course I didn’t want to get back in and make it worse (against Houston). Just to be on the safe side, I stayed out.”
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Surtain and receiver Jerry Jeudy remain “day-to-day.” Jeudy injured his ribs attempting to make a catch in the first quarter Sunday. Those two, along with outside linebacker Randy Gregory (knee), defensive tackle D.J. Jones (ankle), guard Quinn Meinerz (hamstring) and special teamer Darius Phillips (hamstring), didn’t practice.
Receiver KJ Hamler, who didn’t play in Week 2 after getting 40 snaps in Week 1, was limited. Inside linebacker Josey Jewell (calf) was also limited as the Broncos ramp him up for his season debut, as was safety Caden Sterns (filling in for the injured Justin Simmons), with a hip injury. Right tackle Billy Tuner was a full participant as he trends towards making his first start of the season Sunday.
If Surtain can’t play, Damarri Mathis is likely to start at cornerback opposite Ronald Darby. Mathis came in for Surtain against Houston and held up under fire, with five tackles and a pass defensed in the end zone.
Simmons update. Speaking for the first time since going on injured reserve, Simmons told The Post on Wednesday that he hopes to be back for the Broncos’ Week 6 home game at the Los Angeles Chargers.
“That’s definitely the goal we’re shooting for, but obviously we’re going to play it smart, because it’s a long season,” Simmons said.
Simmons said his quad injury in the Week 1 loss in Seattle “was a progression throughout the game” that he played through, and ended up on injured reserve as a result of.
“You play through injuries, and sometimes it’s bound to happen that you make it worse,” Simmons said. “But we’ve got a good team here and I’ll be back in no time to help them.”
Kyle Shanahan on Hackett. The 49ers’ head coach, and son of Broncos coaching legend Mike Shanahan, expressed confidence in Hackett on Wednesday, despite that latter’s multiple game management gaffes over the last two weeks.
Shanahan, who is 40-43 over six years in San Francisco, recalled his first game as the 49ers’ head coach in 2017. San Francisco lost 23-3 at home to the Panthers, a game Shanahan said was an invaluable learning experience.
“I remember my first game, I went for it four times (and converted once),” Shanahan said. “And they were ones I should not have gone for and I’d never done that before. And that’s when I realized, you can’t think like the coordinators. Those are all experiences you go through for the first time (as head coach), but (Hackett) has done this for a while and you guys have a good coach there and very good offensive play caller.”
Kittle limited. 49ers Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle, who has yet to debut this season because of a groin injury, was limited in Wednesday’s practice. Also, defensive end Arik Armstead did not practice with a foot injury.
Emmanuel Sanders’ next destination. The former Broncos’ wideout, who announced his retirement after 12 years in the NFL on Sept. 12, said he’s joining NFL Network as an analyst. Sanders will be making his debut on NFL Network’s GameDay Morning this Sunday alongside a cast featuring Rich Eisen, Kurt Warner and Michael Irvin.
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