Tebow could be inches closer to playing

Denver quarterback Kyle Orton was limited in practice Wednesday with a rib injury.

So, Tim Tebow got plenty of practice time Wednesday with the first unit. Does that mean the rookie quarterback will hit the field against the Raiders on Sunday?

Prior to Denver’s practice, interim coach Eric Studesville said Orton would start Sunday. Orton downplayed his injury status. He said he was simply sore and said he does not have a dead arm. Orton has struggled in the past two games for the 3-10 Broncos.

Fans have been clamoring for Tebow to play in the final month of this lost season. While Denver still seems reluctant to give in, the fact that Tebow handled much of practice Wednesday means he could be getting closer to seeing significant playing time.

Denver receiver Brandon Lloyd, who is third in the NFL in receiving yards, made it clear that he wants Orton to remain the starting quarterback.

Lloyd was one of several Denver players not to practice Wednesday. He has a calf injury. Among the other Denver players not to practice include safety Brian Dawkins (knee), receiver Demaryius Thomas (ankle) and kicker Matt Prater (groin). None of those of those three players played at Arizona on Sunday.

For Oakland, three key defensive players -- cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), defensive lineman Richard Seymour (knee) and rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain (foot) -- were among the players who did not practice Wednesday. McClain didn’t play at Jacksonville and Asomugha and Seymour have lingering issues. While McClain’s situation is more fluid, at this point, Asomugha and Seymour are expected to play Sunday.