According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray actually did not need surgery on his wrist and his timetable to return to the field is much shorter than originally expected.
Unexpected good news for #Broncos: OLB Shane Ray was supposed to have wrist surgery this summer, but the doctor slated to perform it didn’t believe it was necessary, sources tell @JamesPalmerTV and me. He stuck to rehab & his timetable for return is much quicker than anticipated.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 23, 2018
The initial report that came from Rapoport as well stated that Ray needed surgery on his wrist and it would sideline him for three months. Ray was expected to start camp on the PUP and potentially miss some regular season action for the second straight year. However, Ray received some good news.
According to Rapoport, the doctor who was slated to do Ray’s surgery did not believe it was necessary for him to go through with it and that rest and rehab is all needed. So now, Ray is not expected to miss any games according to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis and could even be cleared to start the beginning of camp. Klis does note a short precautionary PUP stint could still happen, but it obviously will not be nearly as long of a stint and originally expected.
OLB Shane Ray not expected to miss any games. Chance he's even cleared for start of training camp, although PUP is still an option. He flew to Houston in mid-June for surgery. Doctor took another look at X-rays and determined non-surgery rehab is best course. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 23, 2018
So now, the Broncos have a healthy Ray to go along with Von Miller, first-round pick Bradley Chubb, and Shaquil Barrett. The remaining interesting part of this conversation is, where does Ray fit into the Broncos plans going forward? It was originally believed that Chubb would step right in as the Broncos second pass rusher opposite of Von Miller, but will Ray get first dibs on that now? Whether or not Ray starts camp on the PUP will factor into this of course, but it will be interesting how that plays out.
Another thing to watch, and is just pure speculation on my part, is Ray becoming trade bait. The Broncos clearly moved when they drafted Chubb with the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and then declining Ray’s fifth-year option which makes him a free agent at the end of the year. So they could put Ray on the block and see if they can strengthen an area of weakness like cornerback or offensive tackle. Again, this is just speculation on my end, but it does make some sense.
With all that said, you can never have enough pass rushers in the NFL and the Broncos already strong unit looks much deeper than anticipated as we head into the start of Training Camp.