Trevathan eligible to return from IR this week

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Linebacker Danny Trevathan is eligible to return from IR this weekend, just in time to give Denver's defense an added dose of nastiness for the stretch run.

''I can't wait,'' nose tackle Terrance Knighton said. ''Because Brandon Marshall is having a Pro Bowl year. And with him and Danny back, there's just so much speed on the field, two guys who can fly around and do so much, can cover, can tackle, can blitz.

''I know it's bad timing for San Diego.''

A win over the Chargers (8-5) would clinch a fourth straight AFC West crown for the Broncos (10-3).

Coach John Fox has been coy about whether Trevathan will play Sunday, and Trevathan was equally taciturn about his prospects after practice Wednesday. But he did say he's feeling fine and is eager to rejoin a defense that's ranked fourth in the league, second against the run.

''It's amazing to see how they're playing right now,'' Trevathan said, ''and when I come back it's going to be something to watch, man.''

The Chargers are sure bracing for that to happen Sunday.

''Hey, they have a good defense without him, don't get me wrong. But they have an even better defense with him,'' Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said. ''So it's always a challenge.''

Trevathan led the Broncos in tackles last season with 124, the highest total by a Bronco since 2007, and he helped throttle the ground games of both the Chargers and Patriots in the playoffs. But he broke a bone under his left kneecap in camp and again in October.

After missing the first three games, Trevathan led Denver with seven tackles against Arizona on Oct. 5 but he reinjured his left leg - and dislocated the kneecap - in the opening minutes the following week against the Jets.

Marshall, who was playing in the nickel alongside Trevathan, became an every-down player and his 106 tackles lead the team by a large margin (next up is safety T.J. Ward's 59).

Whenever Trevathan gets back, Marshall will slide over to middle linebacker in the base defense, play alongside him in the nickel and as the lone `backer in the dime.

Trevathan said he's eager to team up with Marshall to give Denver's already stout defense another dimension.

''Oh yeah, we're going to fit together,'' Trevathan said. ''That's speed and that's athleticism and that's what the league has come to now, that kind of a third-down linebacker, quick, speedster, be able to make plays. And we both fit in that category. ... And it's going to be something to watch when me and B get together. That's all I'm going to say.''

Trevathan said he's not one to lament his bad luck and besides, it gave Marshall, who was on the practice squad this time a year ago, the chance to blossom.

''Oh man, it's been impressive. B-Marsh came in here with the right mindset. He came out here and grinded it out. He started from the bottom and you can't do nothing but respect that. I came from similar background,'' said Trevathan, a sixth-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2012. ''I'm just proud of him and we're going to keep this thing rocking.''

Trevathan said he has no trepidation about playing again after two stints on the sideline, either.

''Oh, I'm good. As long as I'm back, I'm back,'' he said. ''As long as the doctors say I'm good to go, I'm going to go full and if I break something else, it's just whatever. But I'm going to be back out there on that field rocking with them `til it's over.''

Notes: It was a ''hat and sweats'' day at practice, and a season-high eight players sat this one out: C.J. Anderson (ankle), Wes Welker (ankle), Demaryius Thomas (ankle), Montee Ball (groin), Paul Cornick (toe), Cody Latimer (head), Jacob Tamme (ribs) and Quinton Carter (knee). ... TE Julius Thomas (ankle), who hasn't played in nearly a month, was limited and said he's getting better and is optimistic about playing Sunday.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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