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Fangio Reveals Jerry Jeudy's Odds of Suiting Up in Broncos' Week 7 TNF Tilt vs. Browns

Is there a chance the Broncos will have Jerry Jeudy on the field Thursday night in Cleveland?

Injuries continue to severely hamper the Denver Broncos as the team continues its depressing three-game losing skid. Starting linebacker Alexander Johnson is the latest key starter to be lost for the season after suffering a pectoral tear in Week 6's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Head coach Vic Fangio must be wondering what he’s done to so offend the Football Gods. However, at least one silver lining is on the horizon with the news that second-year wideout Jerry Jeudy has entered the 21-day practice window to return to the 53-man roster. 

After suffering a scary ankle injury in Week 1, such a speedy return owes much to Jeudy’s work ethic, and perhaps youthful biology, but now the trick for Denver is to not rush him back to ensure he returns with minimal risk of a setback.

On Monday, Fangio remained focused on Jeudy's cautious recovery plan, rather than pushing the envelope too soon.

“We would need to see him—he’s going to practice because he’s been out so long,” Fangio said. “When we do some of our walkthroughs, he’s going to stay out and do some stuff full speed, running routes and having a quarterback throw him the ball, etc.”

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Broncos Country will be delighted to learn that Jeudy is ramping up his return to the field, but on a short week, the trip to Cleveland might still come too early for the 22-year-old to help the team.

“We’ll try and get a barometer on that and we’ll see,” Fangio said of monitoring Jeudy in practice. “I think the chances of him playing are less than 50% right now.”

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Given the slew of injuries, it’s understandable if the Broncos medical team are expressing an abundance of caution with Jeudy's return, especially after rush linebacker Bradley Chubb was thrown out there in Week 2 only to promptly return to the sidelines for what'll end up being at least half the season.

Heading into the crucial tilt with the Browns on Thursday Night Football, and still without Jeudy, the Broncos will be relying once again on Courtland Sutton to run down Teddy Bridgewater’s shots downfield.

That strategy had mixed results in the Broncos' embarrassing 34-24 loss to the Raiders, but given Sutton’s ongoing recovery from a torn ACL suffered in Week 2 of last season, Fangio feels positive that the fourth-year receiver is getting stronger each week and is nearing the point he can genuinely change the outcomes of games.

“I think so,” Fangio said. “I mean, I’d like to see him connect on some of those big plays that could happen and could really help you win a football game, but I’m encouraged by Courtland’s play. I think he’s getting better and better every week.”

It’s more realistic to bookmark Denver's Week 8 matchup vs. the Washington Football Team for Jeudy's return action. His unique route-running ability would certainly give the Broncos a formidable set of downfield weapons to unleash in tandem.

Perhaps adding that kind of X-factor back into the mix will light a fire under Denver's sputtering offensive unit. This is in bad need of a spark.

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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