The Denver Broncos had a familiar face in practice on Tuesday as starting running back Montee Ball returned two weeks after undergoing an appendectomy.
Ball did not take part in contact drills as the reigning AFC champions had a non-contact practice today so Ball only took part in team drills, but it is an encouraging sign that the team should have the second-year running back for the regular season opener next month.
The former Wisconsin rusher and one of the most productive running backs in FBS history is expected to be cleared for full work at some point later this week, according to Rotoworld.
Ball is expected to fill in for the departed Knowshon Moreno who signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency this offseason after a career-year in Denver last year.
Do not expect to see Ball play in the team’s third preseason game of the year and his status in the fourth and final preseason game may be in doubt as most teams elect to hold their starters out for that game anyway. Considering he is coming back from an appendectomy, his first game action very well will be in the regular season opener.
The 5-11, 214-pound running back ran for 599 yards last year with four touchdowns on 120 carries. He added 20 receptions for 145 yards. In his absence, Ronnie Hillman has shown signs he could be in line for a bigger role in his third year in the NFL.
Despite the potential emergence of Hillman, Ball is the team’s unquestioned starting running back.