Hunter was injured while slamming into a blocking sled during drills, the newspaper reported. The injury likely shifts Ayers or rookie Derek Wolfe into the first wave of lineman in Denver's 4-3 base scheme, but Hunter will be missed. The seventh-year NFL veteran has been a spirited member of the defense during training camp, constantly jawing with offensive linemen and drawing praise from new coordinator Jack Del Rio.
The Broncos' D-line already was a concern. The performance against the Bears was encouraging, because nothing will help Peyton Manning's transition more than a defense that wins the time of possession and prevents opponents from grinding it out on the ground. So far, so good, but Denver can't afford more bad luck on the injury front.
UPDATE: The Associated Press confirmed that Hunter suffered a torn triceps Tuesday that will sideline him at least two months and could cost him the entire season.