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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — When Jerry Jeudy got hurt on opening weekend, television viewers cringed at the awkward angle of his right leg and social media erupted with suggestions that Denver's star receiver was done for the year with a significant knee injury.
Turns out, it was a high ankle sprain, one that Jeudy didn't even realize would keep him out six weeks.
“At first, I really didn’t think it was that serious," Jeudy said Thursday in his first public comments since he got hurt. "As you can see, I wanted to get up and try to walk it off. I thought that would make it feel better, but once I put pressure on it, it started feeling kind of weird.
"Good thing is it wasn’t as bad as it looked.”
Jeudy, the Broncos' first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2020, returned to practice this week and felt so good he even spliced some dance moves into his routine.
He said his ankle is fine and and he can make all the cuts he needs to.
“Oh, I feel good. I feel good,” he said. "I’m cutting like normal.”
Jeudy stayed engaged in the offense, knowing he'd return before November.
“Just been around watching practice, in the meeting rooms, just keeping the same routine I had before I got injured. Been in the training room a lot more — simple as that,” he said.
He had company, commiserating with fellow 2020 draft choice KJ Hamler, who tore an ACL last month.
“KJ is always in good spirits,” Jeudy said. “He always has good energy no matter what situation he’s going through. He’s been keeping that energy and rubbing it off on me. It’s always good to have KJ around.”
Jeudy had a terrific training camp and got off to a great start before he got hurt early in the second half of Denver's 27-13 win over the Giants on Sept. 12. He caught six passes for 72 yards that day.
“Yeah. I feel like I had a pretty good game in the beginning before I got hurt," Jeudy said. "I want to do everything I can to make plays for my team to help us win. Yeah, I felt pretty good.”
Jeudy was medically cleared to return to action last week but coach Vic Fangio didn't want to risk playing him against the Browns last Thursday night because he wanted to see him get a full week's worth of practice before playing in a game.
“As a player, you always want to go in the game no matter what,” Jeudy said. “I respect their decision. They wanted to see me practice. They felt like it was a short week, and I respect that from them.”
The Broncos (3-4) are hoping Jeudy's return can jolt a stagnant offense and help them snap out of a four-game tailspin Sunday when they host the Washington Football Team (2-5).
“We've seen what Jerry can do as a receiver,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We’re excited to get him back.”
Von Miller, who's hoping to play Sunday despite a sprained left ankle he sustained last week at Cleveland, said Jeudy's return will spark the whole team, not just the offense.
He also got in a little dig at the team's three Crimson Tide alumni — Jeudy, safety Kareem Jackson and rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II — after his alma mater, Texas A&M, upset Alabama earlier this month.
“Jerry Jeudy, he’s one of a kind," Miller said. “Those Alabama guys — I know we beat them, but they’ve got a lot of talent over there. We’ve got three of those guys on our team and all three of those guys are super talented. Just having a Jerry Jeudy on the field changes the complexion of everything.”
Miller still hasn’t practiced since spraining his left ankle in the Cleveland game last week, and his status for Sunday might come down to a game-day decision.
“We still have Friday’s practice, too,” Fangio said. “Von is a veteran player, so you feel a little bit more comfortable playing him with limited practice. We’ll see how it goes. It’ll come down to him physically.”
Miller said he wants to play but it'll be up to the coaching, training and medical staff.
“In my mind, I want to play every single game,” Miller said Thursday. “The way I’m feeling today, if I can keep making these types of improvements, I feel really good about my chances. Ultimately, it’s not really up to me.
"On Thursday, I felt like I could have gone back into the game. I could have toughed it out, taped it up, and went back out there. Ultimately, that decision is really not up to me. It’s a lot of guys that care about me. It’s a lot of guys that care about my football future, and I trust those guys with everything I got."
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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press