<
>

Injured Broncos safeties on right track for Super Bowl, coach says

STANFORD, Calif. -- Denver Broncos safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart were officially limited in practice Wednesday but ran freely on the natural grass inside Stanford Stadium.

Both are rehabbing from injuries leading up to Super Bowl 50 on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Ward injured his left ankle Nov. 28 and missed three games, then re-injured himself in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game against the Patriots; Stewart sprained his right knee in the third quarter against the Pats.

Ward looked spry and only slightly favored his ankle. Stewart appeared to be running well and without restriction.

"They're listed as limited today," coach Gary Kubiak said after practice to a pool reporter. "But I think they're right where they need to be, working toward game day. They need to get their confidence as the week goes on. But they took the step they needed to take today."

One other Bronco, guard Louis Vasquez, was also limited with a knee injury. Kubiak said he expects all three to play Sunday.

The Broncos went through a 1-hour, 35-minute practice with GM John Elway looking on from the sideline.

The team worked for about 15 minutes in walk-through fashion, 15 minutes on special teams, then with both the first-team offense and first-team defense working against the scout team. Music was played through big speakers to provide noise.

Veteran cornerback Aqib Talib, who had three interceptions in the regular season, took delight in running one of them back down the left sideline past the offense.

Other teams in past Super Bowl weeks have worked longer on Wednesday, but Kubiak said the Broncos did the majority of the prep work for the Super Bowl last week in Denver.

"Our goal here is to be short and sharp," he said. "We had a really good start today, I thought. Our retention from last week was very good, and guys were very focused."

Security at Stanford was very tight. When the Broncos arrived on campus in buses, they had a police escort on the ground and a police helicopter flying ahead of the caravan.

The Broncos began their practice week Monday with a closed workout at Stanford. The team is scheduled to practice at 4 p.m. ET Thursday and 2:30 p.m. ET Friday, both at Stanford. They'll hold their final pregame work Saturday with an 2 p.m. ET walk-through practice at Levi's Stadium, site of Sunday's Super Bowl.