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Denver's Orton not on field again

Kyle Orton's chances of playing in a huge AFC West game against visiting San Diego on Sunday dropped Thursday when he was not on the field during the portion of practice that was open to the media.

It is possible that Orton does some work later in the practice Thursday. But if he was improved, he’d likely be on the field to start practice.

Orton did not practice Wednesday. He suffered a left ankle sprain Sunday the first half in an eventual loss to Washington. Chris Simms spelled Orton and played poorly, leading to the loss. Simms is set to start Sunday against San Diego if Orton can’t play.

Both Denver and San Diego are 6-3 and the game is for sole possession of first place in the division.

Orton said Wednesday he was hoping to play. But if he missed the first two days of the practice week, the odds of him playing Sunday will lessen considerably. If Orton can’t practice Friday, it would likely all but end his chances of playing Sunday. Denver coach Josh McDaniels will likely want to get Orton at least some practice time before the game.

It seems the clock is ticking on Orton’s chances of facing the Chargers.