The Denver Broncos were the consensus Super Bowl winners after their demolition of the defending Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens in week one.
But the path to New York and the Super Bowl just got a little more difficult for Peyton Manning and the Broncos with the news that left tackle Ryan Clady was placed on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday.
Clady hurt his left foot Sunday when New York Giants defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins rolled up on him while the Broncos were trying to run out the clock in their 41-23 win. Clady will soon undergo surgery for what’s being called a Lisfranc tear, which involves a separation of ligaments and joints in the foot.
Chris Clark, a fifth-year journeyman, will take the place of Clady and make his first career start at left tackle Monday night when the Broncos (host the Oakland Raiders.
To fill Clady’s spot, the Broncos brought in veteran tackle Winston Justice, who played last season in Indianapolis after spending six years in Philadelphia. The 6-foot-6, 317-pound Justice has started 43 games in his career, including one at left tackle.
Clady is the second Bronco offensive lineman to get a season ending injury. Earlier this summer, the team lost center Dan Koppen for the year to an ACL injury.
That is a lot of talent to lose on an offensive line, especially when they are protecting an immobile quarterback. And the injuries might end up costing Peyton Manning another shot at a Super Bowl.