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Early Buzz on OLB Bradley Chubb's Return to Practice: 'He Looked Good, Felt Good'

Is this a sign that the Broncos could get their top pass rusher back this Sunday vs. the Chargers?

After all the drama that surrounded the Denver Broncos' Week 10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the bye week was shaping up to be a gloomy sabbatical for all concerned. Thankfully, a glowing beacon of light was provided by GM George Paton when he re-signed wideout duo Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton contract extensions.

An additional boost for Broncos Country came on Monday when Pro Bowl edge rusher Bradley Chubb returned to the practice field. The team's abundance of caution on Chubb's recovery from a September ankle surgery was evidenced by Vic Fangio's review of the rush linebacker's first practice back. 

“I thought he looked good, and he felt good,” Fangio told reporters on Wednesday. “Hopefully, [he’ll] do a little bit more today and then see where he’s at.”

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Chubb succumbed to what had been a nagging ankle injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 and how the issue was handled by the team raised some concerns. Chubb had been dealing with the ankle for weeks and missed the season-opener as a result. 

After a pre-game consult wherein Chubb tested out the ankle vs. Jacksonville, the team signed off him playing. It ended up backfiring and he's been absent ever since. Fangio emphasized that this time around, things will be handled differently in order to suit Chubb's specific circumstances.

“That was different in that everybody knew what the situation was,” Fangio said. “It was whether he could play with it. It kept acting up. Now, he’s healed, but he hasn’t played or practiced in a long time.”

Clearly, the fine balancing act will be to weigh up the wisdom of throwing Chubb in at the deep end in what is very much like a must-win divisional game on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. Or, conversely, Denver could opt to wait for his conditioning levels to return to the regular-season standard through reps in practice. 

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Chubb’s desire to get back at it is palpable, especially with Von Miller now suiting up for the Los Angeles Rams. Fangio understands the importance of getting his now No. 1 pass rusher back on the field but it will ultimately remain a collective decision.

“When we decide to play him, we’re going to make sure he’s ready,” Fangio said. “That will be a decision made between the medical people, himself, and me.”

Failing to get some heat on Chargers' emerging star quarterback Justin Herbert will most likely serve to push the Broncos further out of playoff contention, so seeing Chubb playing on some kind of pitch count isn't outside the realm of possibility Sunday but don't be shocked to see the team continue to exercise an abundance of caution. 

UPDATE: After Thursday's practice, Fangio said this about Chubb's Week 12 prospects. 

“He did fine yesterday Hopefully he’ll pick it up today, feel good again, and make some more strides. He’ll truly be 50-50 on whether he will play or not.”

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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