Ball, a second-year player, suffered the groin injury in Week 5 vs. the Arizona Cardinals and returned six weeks later, but then reinjured the groin on his second play. In five games, he rushed 55 times for 172 yards and one touchdown.
As a rookie in 2013, Ball rushed 120 times for 559 yards and four touchdowns. Denver chose not to re-sign Knowshon Moreno in free agency, and Ball entered this season as Denver's starting running back. Three days before the preseason opener in August, Ball underwent an emergency appendectomy and missed two weeks.
When Ball went down for the first time this season, Ronnie Hillman had a pair of 20-carry, 100-yard games. When he suffered a sprained foot in Week 10, C.J. Anderson emerged with consecutive 167 and 168-yard games. Anderson is the Broncos' leading rusher on the season with 119 carries for 594 yards and four touchdowns.
Denver (10-3) has won three straight and leads the AFC West by two games. The Broncos' next two games are on the road vs. the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals before returning home to host the Oakland Raiders in the regular-season finale.
- Mike Fiammetta