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Broncos RB Moreno out vs. Colts; Buckhalter expected to start

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Chaos has become the new normal for the Denver Broncos' running game.

Knowshon Moreno is out again after pulling his left hamstring during practice Thursday and Correll Buckhalter is expected to start in his place when the Broncos (1-1) face the Colts on Sunday.

"You've just got to keep on moving on," quarterback Kyle Orton said about the latest injury news. "There's nothing you can do or say about it. We've been dealing with this stuff all year. And whoever's in the huddle, we expect them to perform."

This is just the most recent injury for Moreno. The starting tailback pulled his right hamstring the opening day of training camp and didn't return until Aug. 31, saving his on-field debut until the regular season. He has gained just 111 yards on 39 carries for a 2.8-yard average this season.

Denver's running game has been off to a dismal start overall. The team's 77 yards per game ranks 27th and the Broncos are averaging just 2.4 yards on 63 rushing plays.

Indianapolis (1-1) should see more of a three-headed approach to the run game by Denver, with Buckhalter and newcomers Laurence Maroney and Andre Brown likely to share the workload.

Buckhalter, himself no stranger to injury, still may not be ready to pound it into the line 20 times. He hurt his neck and back in the first team drill of training camp and was sidelined for three weeks. Buckhalter played in the preseason finale and has 17 carries for 34 yards with a TD during the regular season.

"Without going through a preseason and getting banged around and stuff for that month, my preseason's kind of been the last two games we played," Buckhalter said. "So just getting the chance to get the rust off, I'm kind of feeling like myself right now, especially late in the week."

Maroney hasn't even had two weeks to assimilate Denver's playbook after his acquisition via trade from New England on Sept. 15. He didn't even begin practicing with the Broncos until this week due to a thigh injury sustained in the Patriots' final preseason game.

But that transition has been eased by a Denver offense that's similar to the one coach Josh McDaniels ran with Maroney in New England from 2006-08. He's also played the Colts four times, playoffs included.

"For the most part the system is pretty easy," Maroney said. "I'm not saying too easy, but I know a lot of it and I feel confident I can go in there and do my thing and not have too many mistakes."

Brown has had an even more whirlwind journey to this point. He was awarded to Denver off waivers on Sept. 5 after spending the preseason with the New York Giants. The Broncos waived him Sept. 15 with the intent of bringing him back on the practice squad, which they did two days later.

But when Ryan Grant was lost for the season by the Green Bay Packers, they were going to sign Brown. Denver reacted by adding Brown to the active roster Tuesday.

"I feel comfortable enough to where I feel all right out there on certain plays," said Brown, who appears to have overcome a turf toe injury that limited him in August with New York. "It's still a learning process, learning by reps and stuff like that. As it goes, I'm going to go, and when they throw me in there, I've just got to be ready."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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