The Denver Broncos need to take a page from their DeMarcus Ware handbook and sit Demaryius Thomas.
Don’t risk further injury to the receiver’s hip. Don’t open him up to the chance of getting another injury by playing him against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. It makes zero sense for Thomas to play in this game.
A hip injury lingers like a rank fart. Just when you think you have it defeated, it pops back up at the worst possible time and leaves a foul taste in your mouth. Gary Kubiak and the Broncos need to squash this now before it gets worse. The risk isn’t needed in the second game of the season.
It’s the approach Denver has taken with Ware and his back, so do the same with Thomas and his hip. Even if Thomas moved better in practice on Thursday as compared to Wednesday, give his hip the time to heal. Just because he moved better Thursday doesn’t mean it won’t flare up again Sunday.
Better to have him miss the second game of the season as opposed to multiple games later because he played in one he didn’t need to. That’s true even if Thomas tells the Denver coaches and training staff he feels good. Look past the game with the Colts and know the season is bigger than one game in September.
There are those who may argue “well, just give him a cortisone shot.” That doesn’t make the injury go away, make Thomas better or lower his risk of further injury. It’s basically just like taking Tylenol. It’s not a steel shield he puts on his hip.
Yes, Thomas also played with a similar injury in 2012 and played the whole season. Again, still not worth the risk. At that point, you’re trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice.
Do the Broncos really want to take the chance they could lose their No. 1 wide out because he played against Indy?
There is a chance he could suit up and play a few offensive plays, but that doesn’t make any sense either. What’s the point? To throw the Colts defense off? It limits his action on the field but doesn’t take away the chance Thomas’ hip gets worse.
What Kubiak should continue to do is confuse the heck out of Chuck Pagano and Indianapolis up until Sunday. Continue to lead them to believe that Thomas will play. That is if you believe that kind of gamesmanship works in the NFL.
Besides, the best way for Denver to win this game on Sunday is to run the ball and eat time off of the clock. That wears out a suspect Indianapolis defense but also keeps Andrew Luck on the sidelines. Luck can’t beat you if he doesn’t have the chance to make plays.
The Broncos showed they can run the ball and do so effectively in the opener against the Carolina Panthers. The Colts defense is nowhere near Carolina’s. So run the ball, dominate the line of scrimmage and control time of possession.
Denver doesn’t need Thomas to do that. Yes, he’s an underrated blocker but he really won’t have an impact on that facet of the game. And certainly not enough to put him on the field with an injured hip that could get worse.
The other aspect to consider here is that Indy doesn’t have the strongest secondary, and that was before all of its injuries. The Broncos are deep at receiver and could get Bennie Fowler back. If the Colts defensive backs couldn’t cover the Detroit Lions receivers, they won’t cover Denver’s ... even if Thomas isn’t on the field.
The end equation is it makes zero sense for Kubiak and Denver to put Thomas on the field on Sunday. They must remain as proactive as they have with Ware. Give Thomas the time he needs to get this hip injury completely healed. Or at least as close to it as possible.
There’s a scenario this injury could remain with Thomas the remainder of the season. The Broncos should come to that conclusion only after he sits out Sunday’s game.
Continue to have Thomas practice.
Give him reps.
Don’t put Thomas or the team in a situation where this lingers like a rank fart because he plays when there is no reason for him to do so.
It’s not worth the foul taste in your mouth when it comes back.