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Sunday, January 12, 2014
Broncos fear significant injury for Harris Jr.

By Jeff Legwold

DENVER -- Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. will have an MRI exam Monday morning on his injured knee and ankle, and privately some team officials are not optimistic about what they will hear from the medical staff.

Both injuries will be examined, but there was more concern late Sunday night about his knee. Harris Jr. left Sunday’s 24-17 victory against the San Diego Chargers in the third quarter and did not return.

The Broncos led 17-0 when Harris Jr. departed and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers targeted Harris Jr.’s replacement -- Quentin Jammer -- often down the stretch as San Diego scored all 17 of its points in the fourth quarter.

“I have to be better,’’ Jammer said following the game. “There were some technique things I need to clean up.’’

Harris Jr. has been the Broncos' most consistent defensive back and because of his versatility he plays in all of the team’s packages. Harris Jr. played 1,042 snaps on defense in the regular season, the most of any Broncos player on that side of the ball. He was one of just two players -- linebacker Danny Trevathan was the other -- to even top 900 snaps in the regular season.

The Broncos will have to adjust plenty of things against the New England Patriots with Harris Jr. not expected to be available. The Broncos could leave Jammer in the base defense and keep Champ Bailey in the slot as the nickel cornerback.

They could move Bailey back outside if they think he’s ready after three games since his return to the lineup from a left foot injury that kept him out of 11 games this season. And the Broncos could simply use rookie Kayvon Webster, who is playing with a cast on his surgically-repaired right thumb, more as well.