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Hits keep coming for Broncos: Ailing Tebow misses practice

Tim Tebow's first foray into an NFL end zone reportedly has left him with injured ribs.

The Denver Broncos' rookie quarterback missed training-camp practice for the first time Wednesday after jogging off the field during warmups. *The Denver Post reported* Thursday that Tebow has bruised ribs, and it's possible he won't play in the Broncos' preseason game Saturday against the Detroit Lions at Invesco Field.

Although the Broncos aren't saying what's wrong with the first-round draft pick from Florida, Tebow might be feeling the effects of his game-ending, 7-yard touchdown run in his professional debut Sunday night.

After absorbing several hard hits, Tebow powered his way into the end zone on the game's final play, smacking into Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Abdul Hodge to the goal line and bowling over Kyries Hebert. That left the safety woozy, with his mouth guard lying on the ground at his feet.

Wearing flak jacket-like extra padding around his ribs this week, Tebow participated in both workouts Tuesday when the Broncos reconvened for camp at Dove Valley. He skipped the post-practice wind sprints, where he routinely whoops his offensive teammates.

About 10 minutes into warmups Wednesday, Tebow huddled with Broncos head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos and appeared to favor his left rib cage or abdomen as he jogged off the field and into team headquarters. Tebow didn't return to practice, after which the team scrubbed his scheduled gathering with reporters.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels left the field without comment, and in keeping with the team's policy not to discuss the reasons for absences from practices, spokesman Patrick Smyth said he couldn't disclose why Tebow missed the workout.

Starting quarterback Kyle Orton and backup Brady Quinn shared all the snaps during the two-hour workout, surely to the chagrin of all the Tebowmaniacs in attendance.

Tebow is the latest big name in the Broncos' injury epidemic, joining a list that includes NFL sackmaster Elvis Dumervil, who might miss the entire season with a torn chest muscle, and running backs LenDale White, Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter. The latter two were hurt during the first hour of camp.

"I don't want to focus on that right now," Quinn said when asked about the team's latest injury. "I'm just focusing on getting better and getting ready for Detroit."

The Broncos, who wrap up camp Thursday, face the Lions in their home preseason opener Saturday night. Tebow's home debut might not come until later.

"That's kind of the nature of the beast," defensive lineman Justin Bannan said. "I've been on teams where it feels like your whole team's hurt. I don't think we're much different from a lot of other teams in the league right now. It's just a grind. You get to about three weeks into camp, and it's just a struggle to get it over with and get it done."

Before practice, McDaniels said he was planning to play Tebow this weekend about the same as he did in the preseason opener -- most of the second half. Those plans could change now, delaying Tebow's home debut until Aug. 29 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Broncos did receive good injury news Wednesday, when linebacker Jarvis Moss and rookie wide receiver Eric Decker returned to practice,according to *The Denver Post*.

Moss missed two weeks of workouts after breaking his hand, and he's expected to take over the edge-rush spot formerly occupied by Dumervil. Decker had been sidelined the past 10 days because of a sprained ankle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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