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Injury roundup: Wes Welker makes practice return

Wes Welker has taken his first step toward a return to game action following his latest concussion.

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The veteran wide receiver joined Broncos teammates on the field for practice on Monday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Welker has yet to be cleared for contact or to play, according to a Denver source.

Welker suffered a concussion -- his third since last November -- after taking a hit from D.J. Swearinger during a preseason loss to the Houston Texans. Peyton Manning, angered by Swearinger's shot on Welker, was penalized (and later fined) for taunting the safety after a touchdown pass on the subsequent play.

A return to practice is a positive indication Welker escaped a long-term setback. The wideout has more checkpoints to reach if he wants to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but he's on the right track.

Here are some other injury updates:

» ESPN.com's Mike Rodak reported Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (rib) ran "routes-versus-air" in the portion of practice open to the media. He dropped his first pass and did pushups as penance. Watkins aggravated a rib injury in the Bills' preseason finale.

» Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton practiced Monday wearing a "beefed up flak jacket," according to The Charlotte Observer. Newton has some hairline fractures in his ribs.

» New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham could miss up to three more weeks with his lingering hamstring injury. Beckham missed virtually all of training camp and the entire preseason with the issue.

» New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday it's too early to tell still whether or not cornerback Dee Milliner will be ready for their Week 1 game against the Raiders, according to NFL Media's Kimberly Jones. Milliner is recovering from a high-ankle sprain he suffered on Aug. 10. Without his presence, the Jets would likely be starting Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen at cornerback.

» Speaking of the Raiders, tight end David Ausberry made a highly anticipated return to the team's practice field on Monday after a procedure on his knee last month. "He moved around. We practiced him on a limited basis," coach Dennis Allen said. "... it looked like he moved around pretty well."

» Detroit Lions rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy will miss significant time after undergoing sports hernia surgery, according to mlive.com. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the second-round pick is "certainly" a candidate for short-term injured reserve. If that's the case, Van Noy will be sidelined at least eight games.

» Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday he is hopeful that wideout Kevin Norwood and linebacker Bruce Irvin will play against the Packers in Thursday night's season opener. Norwood is recovering from foot surgery to remove a bone spur while Irvin is still recovering from offseason hip surgery.

Carroll also said running back Christine Michael is "banged up" and the team will figure out his availability later in the week. Michael missed the final preseason game after tweaking his hamstring in practice.

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