Broncos' Dawkins misses practice with nagging neck injury

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Brian Dawkins was held out of the Denver Broncos' practice Wednesday because of a neck injury that has bothered him for most of the month.

Fellow starting safety Quinton Carter (lower back) and nickel cornerback Chris Harris (neck), who leads all rookie defensive backs with 62 tackles, both participated in the team's final full-padded practice after leaving last weekend's loss at Buffalo with those injuries.

"I'll definitely be ready to play this week," said Harris, who was limited at Wednesday's workout. "The body feels like everybody else's does in the NFL at this time of the season, but you've just got to fight through it and play your game."

If Dawkins can't play Sunday, David Bruton would start at strong safety even though he was limited at practice because of a nagging Achilles injury.

If Carter is out, fellow rookie Rahim Moore, who began the season as the starter but was demoted for his poor tackling technique, would receive the nod at free safety.

"You know what, everybody has to believe and everybody has to stay ready. That's all you can do," Moore said. "Get healthy, stay ready. It's not going to be easy. It's been a tough season. And that's why you have to stay ready and believe, and when it's all said and done, whoever's out there has to make some plays and do what he can to help this team conquer."

The Broncos are hoping for a healthy secondary to face former quarterback Kyle Orton, who brings the Kansas City Chiefs (6-9) to town Sunday with a chance to beat the team that benched him in favor of Tim Tebow.

Orton can exact some revenge on the Broncos (8-7) by denying them their first playoff berth since 2005, when they last won the AFC West.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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