SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos kicks the winning field goal against the San Diego Chargers as Britton Colquitt #4 and Lonie Paxton #66 celebrate and Eric Weddle #32 of the Chargers looks on during the Broncos 16-13 overtime win in their NFL Game on November 27, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
As the team prepared to leave Denver for New England, the Broncos released their final injury report for Saturday's divisional round playoff game against the New England Patriots. While Brian Dawkins is a longshot to play - he's not expected to suit up - and Eric Decker is ruled out, one surprise on the list is Broncos long-snapper Lonie Paxton who has missed the entire week of practice due to personal reasons.
Paxton is vital to the Broncos, having a ton of experience long-snapping in some huge games in his career as a member of the New England Patriots. Paxton, of course, helped the Broncos win several games this year, with Denver winning 3 games during the regular season with overtime fieldgoals.
Who will replace Paxton remains to be seen, with the Broncos having also lost backup Chris Kuper to injury against the Kansas City Chiefs. One likely candidate is OL Russ Hochstein, who has done it in the past, but if the game comes down to a key extra point or field goal, well, we've seen in the past how a shaky long-snapper can kill postseason dreams.