Emmanuel Sanders also had offseason ankle surgery

Emmanuel Sanders' return to full strength and participation from last season's Achilles injury has been well documented. That journey is nearly complete.

The Broncos receiver took a big step Monday by participating in every 11-on-11 team period, per 9News' Mike Klis. Sanders, who sat out Denver's first two preseason games, is also expected to play Monday night when the Broncos take on the 49ers in their third preseason contest.

Coming back from the Achilles injury has been tough sledding for the 32-year-old Sanders, but that's not all the veteran receiver was recuperating from this offseason.

Sanders told Klis on Monday that he also underwent a "tightrope" surgery on his right ankle (not the one directly affected by his torn left Achilles) in January to correct an injury that had bothered him for years. Sanders initially injured his right ankle on Oct. 15, 2017, and missed four games down the stretch of the 2017 season.

The wideout told Klis the ankle continued to hinder him into last year.

"My (right) ankle gave me problems all last year," Sanders said. "I came to camp last year thinking, 'How to hell am I going to get through this season?'

"I feel like that was kind of the reason I tore my Achilles."

Before tearing his Achilles in December, Sanders caught 71 balls for 868 yards and four scores. The wideout finally underwent ankle surgery this offseason, though he suffered incredible pain in doing so.

"The tightrope was more painful the Achilles (surgery)," Sanders told Klis, so much so that the wideout had to "literally had to crawl up stairs" as he was recovering from both injuries in February. Sanders underwent surgery on his torn Achilles on Dec. 6, 2018, one day after suffering that injury.

Eight months later, Sanders is nearing a return to game form with two structurally sound ankles and newfound confidence.

"I feel good now that both of them have been taken care of," Sanders said. "I feel like I'm back to myself, finally."

The Broncos are hoping he'll play that way alongside young receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, starting this Monday evening.

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