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Montee Ball on the mend; Thompson takes first team reps

Montee Ball made a return to Broncos practice and spoke about where he is in the recovery process, while Juwan Thompson, a current fan-favorite took snaps with the first-team offense. CJ Anderson continues to experience concussion symptoms after suffering a concussion in Thursday night's game.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ball returns to practice, watches teammates, and talks about his injury

Broncos starting running back Montee Ball was back at practice on Saturday, but was not a participant. Five days removed from the emergency appendectomy that sidelined him, Ball was back at Dove Valley, watching as his team prepared for the upcoming preseason match-up with the San Francisco 49ers. Ball, who missed the first preseason game against Seattle, and will not be a participant in next week's match-up either, was happy to be back at practice, but said that it was tough seeing guys work while he was on the sidelines.

Ball expanded on how the appendectomy came about last Sunday night, explaining that a pain in his stomach woke him up, leading to him calling the Broncos' head athletic trainer, Steve Antonopulos. Antonopulos, or 'Greek' as the Broncos players call him, got the running back a CT scan, which led to a diagnosis and emergency surgery.

When asked how he feels, Ball was optimistic, saying that "the healing process is most definitely working", but he is unsure of an exact timetable for a return. Ideally, Ball would like to be playing this week against the Niners, but he knows that is not possible and preached "listening to (my) body and the great training staff".

As far as the game against Seattle goes, Montee was watching of course, and he went through a grading sheet with running backs coach Eric Studesville, along with some game film. As far as what he saw, Ball was proud of the way the Broncos played, "We needed a a mindset of toughness going into this season, which I think really showed today."

Juwan Thompson takes first team reps, Anderson sent home with concussion symptoms

With Ball on the sidelines, undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson took some of the first team reps in drills today following his big performance Thursday night. Thompson, who rushed for 59 yards on six carries against the Seahawks was praised by Ball himself: "Juwan's doing a great job...He just keeps his nose in the playbook and works."

On top of that praise, Ball admitted that the injury situation is particularly tough for him because of all the competition for that top running back spot, admitting that the other backs are making him work hard for it.

In other running back news, Broncos coach John Fox touched on CJ Anderson's concussion situation, mentioning that Anderson "had a little headaches, which is normal at this stage" and that "player safety is first and foremost...we will just take it one day at a time." Anderson was sent home from the practice Saturday with concussion symptoms.