Wide receiver KJ Hamler suffered two pretty serious injuries last season during the Denver Broncos' week three victory against the New York Jets. While coming down for a reception, Hamler landed awkwardly on his left leg and ultimately ended up tearing his ACL and suffering a serious hip injury that also required surgery. This obviously ended his season early and he faced a long road ahead before his knee and hip would be fully healthy again. Hamler himself stated that he was in a dark place during this time, but he eventually moved past that and worked his way back to being the explosive receiver he was prior.
He did go to San Diego and workout, run routes, and catch passes from quarterback Russell Wilson over the offseason. This was a significant step in Hamler’s rehab but he still started training camp on the PUP. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and the Broncos staff took it slow and precautionary with Hamler, but he was eventually activated off the PUP and started taking reps in team drills this week.
K.J. Hamler says he would like to play Saturday. Says he doesn’t know if he will play and is cool if he doesn’t play. Says he feels good right now.— Summer of George (@GeorgeStoia) August 24, 2022
“I feel like I’m dang near there.” #Broncos
With Hamler looking good and feeling healthy, there is a chance we could catch the explosive receiver this Saturday vs. the Vikings. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett told reporters after today’s practice that Hamler has looked good and if he(Hamler) feels like he needs some reps that they will give them to him.
“He’s looked good. He’s a guy that, again, we’re trying to do it the right way. I think that as we continually talk to him—if he feels as though that he needs some reps to be able to get out there, we will definitely give those to him. If he’s cleared and everything is good—I’d say on track—I’m hoping we see him out there a little bit.”
It would be nice to get Hamler out for this game. He could shake some rust off and take a hit or two and/or land on the ground a bit and help him get over that mental hurdle. By the sounds of it, if Hackett were to ask Hamler if he wanted to play, he would gladly step on the field Saturday vs. the Vikings.
“I don’t mind playing. Just to go out there and get a feel for it again. I’ve been doing team reps out here, as well. That would be my first game since the injury happened, so whatever [Head] Coach [Nathaniel Hackett] wants me to do, I’ll do it. I’m going to be excited if he wants me to play a little bit. I don’t know how long he would want me to play or if he would even want me to play, but if he does, it’s fine.”
Hamler has been taking team drills this week and going against Pat Surtain II and others and this has Hamler feeling like he’s “dang near there” in his rehab. He also indicated that he is wearing a knee brace on his left leg, the same one where he tore his ACL this season. He called it “annoying” but it is something he has to do but stressed that he is still moving well despite the brace on his knee.
“I feel like I’m dang near there. I feel like I’m there, but just getting the feel for everything. I haven’t seen or went against anybody [before that]. I was just going out there against ‘PS2’ (CB Pat Surtain II) and a lot of the DBs. I haven’t seen that in a while or been around it. It wasn’t really anything new to me. It was just getting back to where I started. The knee brace is annoying, but I have to wear it. That’s the only thing, but other than that, I’m moving good.”
I have said this before, but a healthy Hamler adds a speed and explosive dynamic to this offense that they are desperately missing. He is a home run threat whenever he is on the field and pairing that with Russell Wilson who loves throwing deep and does it very well is a pretty exciting combination. So, getting him healthy and ready for week one is pretty important and I hope Hamler has multiple big plays on offense for the Broncos this upcoming season.