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Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts Injury Report: Marshall, Unrein questionable; Smith out

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The Denver Broncos are looking as healthy as can be expected for an NFL team heading into their first playoff game. There's a 50/50 chance Brandon Marshall will play on Sunday.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Only one Broncos player, DE Quanterus Smith, missed practice with the Denver Broncos today. Smith is officially out for the Colts game on Sunday.

LB Brandon Marshall and DT Mitch Unrein are questionable to play on Sunday. There were some hopeful media reports from practice today re: Marshall's progress.

Both the Broncos and the Colts are remarkably healthy going into their AFC Divisional Round game. Which is great news for both teams.

The Broncos in particular have tremendously benefitted from their playoff bye. Their pre-bye injury report was beginning to look more and more like their roster.

Or for you Game of Thrones fans I'll put it another way. Do you know how almost every character you start to really like in Game of Thrones then immediately gets killed? The Broncos injury report was starting to look a lot like that.

C.J. Anderson is amazing. I love him > knee injury. Look at how great Brandon Marshall is doing as next man up > foot injury. David Bruton is such a stud out there > concussion. We can always count on Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas > oh look, Sanders is limping and something now seems wrong with DT's finger.

And don't even get me started on Peyton Manning's thigh injury. I've never spent so much time reading about a man's thigh in my entire life! You'd think the man was on crutches. The bye week made the injury insanity stop, but the media will never stop speculating about player's injuries.

And here's the thing about NFL injury reports.

You can't tell exactly what a player's injury is or how minor/severe a player's injury is from a team injury report. So these reports are ripe for speculation. Sure you can see how much players are practicing, but it's not as if the report tells the whole story.

Take Brandon Marshall's injury as an example. Marshall is on the injury report for a foot injury and we know from Coach Fox that it's a foot sprain, specifically a mid-foot sprain. Mid-foot is the last words football fans who follow injury reports want to hear because it brings up one word to mind - lisfranc. And even for all of us who aren't doctors it seems pretty clear that lisfranc injuries linger and are hard to recover from (Ryan Clady, Champ Bailey). But is Marshall's injury truly a lisfranc issue? I have no idea and I can't really blame the Broncos for not being more specific. So we're all just left to wonder if Marshall actually would be OK to play this Sunday, or if he's potentially going to be rushed back because it's the playoffs.

And what about Julius Thomas' ankle? Here's a case where a player can be listed as a "full participant" on the injury report, but their performance on the field the following game seems far from their "full" potential. Is the player still injured more than we think? Are they just rusty? In a slump? Again, it's a guessing game for fans, and I imagine the coaches, to see how a player will really bounce back after any injury.

John Fox was asked this week if JT was where he needed to be at physically. Here is his wonderfully vague answer:

"No more or less than anyone else we’ll have active on Sunday. I think when you reach this point in the season—whether it’s late regular season, early playoff season—and guys are playing with different things, it’s a physical game. But he’s performed well and we expect him to perform well on Sunday."

And an equally vague observation from today's practice (and of course it's vague, it's an impossible question to really answer):

Do the playoffs affect how players deal with injuries?

I'm guessing yes they do. We're in 'one and done' territory now. And while I would never want a player to risk their future career on one game, I can see how it would be awfully hard for players to hold anything back right now.

And there's one thing the injury reports don't mention at all.

All of the players for both teams that are on IR, players who had injuries so severe they ended the player's season, aren't listed on team's injury reports.

How happy would Broncos Country be to have a healthy Danny Trevathan, Nate Irving, Montee Ball, and Quinton Carter out there on the field? (Or at least as options in case other players get injured.)

How happy would Colts fans be if Robert Mathis could play on Sunday? I'm thinking very, very happy.

Player injuries will not be a big storyline going into the Broncos/Colts game on Sunday. Hopefully they won't be a big story (for either team) at the end of the game either.

Injury Report

Denver Broncos

Player Pos. Injury Wed. Participation Thur. Participation Fri. Participation Game Status
Marshall, Brandon LB Foot LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Bruton, David S Concussion/Neck FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Cornick, Paul T Toe FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Franklin, Orlando G Concussion FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Manning, Peyton QB Thigh FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Montgomery, Will C Knee FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Talib, Aqib CB Achilles FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Thomas, Demaryius WR Ankle/Finger FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Thomas, Julius TE Ankle FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Thompson, Juwan RB Hip/Knee FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Ward, T.J. S Neck FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Webster, Kayvon CB Shoulder FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Unrein, Mitch DT Knee - - - LIMITED LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Smith, Quanterus DE Knee - - - LIMITED DNP OUT

Indianapolis Colts

Player Pos. Injury Wed. Participation Thur. Participation Fri. Participation Game Status
Jackson, D'Qwell LB Rest DNP FULL FULL ---
Muamba, Henoc LB Back DNP FULL FULL PROBABLE
Toler, Greg CB Knee DNP LIMITED FULL PROBABLE
Freeman, Jerrell LB Abdomen LIMITED FULL FULL PROBABLE
Harrison, Jonotthan C Concussion LIMITED FULL FULL PROBABLE
Jackson, Andrew LB Hamstring LIMITED FULL FULL PROBABLE
Walden, Erik LB Knee LIMITED FULL FULL PROBABLE
Shipley, A.Q. C Ankle FULL FULL FULL PROBABLE
Wayne, Reggie WR Rest --- --- DNP ---

BOLD-Indicates change in status STATUS DEFINITIONS:                   
Out - player definitely will not play 
Doubtful - at least 75% chance player will not play 
Questionable - 50-50 chance player will not play 
Probable - virtual certainty player will be available for normal duty