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Broncos' Holdman hospitalized with spinal cord injury after collision

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos linebacker Warrick Holdman was hospitalized with a spinal cord concussion following a collision with a teammate at training camp on Thursday.

Holdman was carted off the field strapped to a backboard and taken by ambulance to Sky Ridge Medical Center, where he was being kept overnight for observation, team spokesman Jim Saccomano said.

Holdman temporarily lost feeling in his extremities but had movement in his arms and legs by the time he was taken off the field during the club's morning practice.

"He went numb for about 30, 40 seconds out there. He got his feeling back, which is a good sign," coach Mike Shanahan said. "I don't know anything for sure. ... It was a good sign when he could move his fingers, move his toes and was able to sit up. We'll keep our fingers crossed."

Holdman, who was transported to Sky Ridge Medical Center for tests and treatment, appeared to hit the crown of his helmet on another player's helmet and crumpled to the grass midway through the morning workout. He was rolled over onto his back after a minute, but stayed down for eight minutes.

His teammates gathered around him as he was strapped to a headboard and carted off the field to a waiting ambulance.

"That's the one thing you don't want to see whether it's a teammate or whether it's an opponent," cornerback Dre' Bly said. "We don't play this game to get injured, we play this game to entertain and have fun. So, whenever you see a guy go down, especially injuries like that when you're not moving and stuff like that, everyone immediately goes down and prays."

Holdman is a ninth-year pro in his first season in Denver after spending the last two years in Washington. He was working with the starters at strong side linebacker Thursday. Holdman, D.D. Lewis and Nate Webster are among a handful of players vying for the position in one of the most heated competitions at camp.

Shanahan said Holdman was playing "pretty good. We've got a lot of guys in the thick of things competing for that third spot. To be honest with you, I can't tell you who is ahead right now. That changes day by day, and that's a good sign."

D.J. Williams was the "Sam" linebacker last season, but moved to the middle when team captain Al Wilson, the team's leading tackler a year ago, was waived for health and salary cap concerns.

Wilson injured his neck in a game against Seattle last December and failed a physical this spring that nixed a trade to the New York Giants before his release.

Holdman's injury brought flashbacks of Wilson getting hurt and carted off the field on Dec. 3 -- especially with Holdman wearing Wilson's old No. 56.

"You never want to see one of your teammates down," safety John Lynch said. "It brings back memories of Al Wilson. It's the worst thing about football. I thought about Al when he was down.

"It was a somber mood after it happened and we managed to get through the practice."

About 15 minutes after Holdman was injured, defensive lineman Demetrin Veal went down for a minute after getting poked in the eye. He said he was fine and wouldn't resort to wearing a visor.

The Broncos began the practice with eight players out of pads: defensive tackles Sam Adams (knee) and Marcus Thomas (calf); wide receivers Rod Smith (hip), Brandon Marshall (thigh), Glenn Martinez (thigh) and Marquay McDaniel (hamstring); and tight ends Tony Scheffler (foot) and Chad Mustard (hamstring).

With so many players banged up and another unseasonably hot day on hand, players welcomed the news that Shanahan had canceled the afternoon workout.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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