- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
A day after running back Montee Ball had an appendectomy, Ronnie Hillman spent a little more time working with quarterback Peyton Manning. Ball is expected to be ready for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, but unlikely to play in any of the team's preseason games. That means Hillman will get most of the work with the starters in the coming weeks. And Tuesday that meant putting in a little extra time with Manning running a red zone route or two while the rest of the team was going through some special teams work.
The Broncos held wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of Tuesday's practice because of right thigh strain he suffered in Monday's workout. When the Broncos went to work in a two-tight end set during Tuesday's practice Demaryius Thomas and Andre Caldwell were at the two wide receiver spots. Rookie Cody Latimer did get some work with the starters as well as his usual post-practice work with Manning. Manning hit Caldwell and Latimer for touchdowns in red zone work during the morning practice.
The Broncos have liked the progress of rookie cornerback Bradley Roby thus far. Roby has played, for the most part, in one of the outside spots when the Broncos' starting defense goes to the nickel (five defensive backs). But he has also discovered what plenty of defensive backs around the league already know -- this Peyton Manning guy is no walk in the park. "It can be frustrating because you can be in great coverage and he'll still stick it in there where only the receiver can get it. But it only helps because in the season, those guys aren't going to put it on there like he does. He's a Hall of Famer, one of the greats of all time. So going against him, making plays against him is giving me more confidence to go against other guys.” Roby has also shown the kind of play-to-play ability to bounce back and reset quickly after mistakes, something Champ Bailey has always said is one of the biggest items on a rookie defensive back's to-do list to make an NFL career. "It is what it is. Perfect offense beats the perfect defense, especially in this league," Roby said. "You've got to just wipe it off and get the next play in."
Defensive tackle Marvin Austin, who signed a one-year, no-signing-bonus deal with the Broncos to try and kick-start what has been an injury-marred career since the Giants made him a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, took some snaps with the defensive starters Tuesday. Austin, who said Tuesday his back was so painful before surgery that he couldn't "defecate without laxatives," said he feels better physically than he ever has in his NFL career. Austin is on track to be in this team's rotation up front when the regular season begins. As Sylvester Williams put it, "If I could give him a grade right now it would be an A. He's been doing excellent."
The Broncos will have a walk-through Wednesday, but not a full practice with their preseason opener Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Odds and ends: Broncos Ring of Fame member -- he's going in this season -- Rick Upchurch was at practice Tuesday morning. ... Demaryius Thomas briefly left practice, but returned to finish out drills. .. Tight end Julius Thomas had his elbow checked by training during practice, but stayed in drills.
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