ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick, who led the team in touchdown catches last season, was carted off the practice field Tuesday with a right knee injury team officials feared will force the fifth-year player to miss significant time.
“Guy like Tim … it breaks your heart,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “The worst part of this game is when things like this happen.”
Patrick caught a pass in a team drills in front of cornerback Essang Bassey and as he turned to run upfield, his leg buckled and Patrick grabbed his knee as he fell to the ground. Several teammates, including wide receiver Courtland Sutton and quarterback Russell Wilson, immediately surrounded Patrick as he was examined by the team’s trainers.
Patrick, who is slated to be one of the team’s top three wide receivers in the rotation, was then helped on to a cart and taken to the locker room. He was scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam later Tuesday.
“Tim’s a guy that’s well respected across this team, across this league,” Hackett said. “We’re going to hope for the best.”
The Broncos stopped practice until Patrick was helped from the field. Safety Kareem Jackson, who is in his 13th NFL, said it was a testament to Patrick’s standing among his teammates that it was “the longest I’ve seen practice kind of held [up].”
Patrick was third on the team in receptions last season with 53 and led the team in touchdown catches with five. He has risen from being signed off waivers by the Broncos in 2017, having been waived by the Broncos as well later that year, to a special teams stalwart in his early time with the team to one of its key receivers in the offense.
He signed a three-year, $30 million deal last November.
“It hurts,” Sutton said. “To see a guy who works his butt off all offseason, his preparation is second to none … (We’re) praying for the best … as we sit and wait.”
If Patrick misses significant time it will be the third consecutive season the Broncos have lost one of their top receivers to injury. Sutton suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season as KJ Hamler suffered a torn ACL as well as a hip injury in Week 3 last season.
Running back Damarea Crockett also suffered a knee injury in Tuesday’s practice and he was taken for an MRI exam as well. Crockett, who played in 12 games last season, has been working as the No. 4 back thus far in camp behind Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone.