ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It was bad enough that Willis McGahee broke the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand when he grabbed the face mask of Sean Smith eight days ago. It was worse that he couldn’t play yesterday after missing practice all week following surgery to repair the fracture.
But getting fined $7,500 by the league? That just seems like overkill.
“It looked like I was holding on to his face mask all the way through, which I really wasn’t,” McGahee said.
“When I was trying to get it out, I heard it pop, and I just had to leave it there until it freed up on its own.”
After undergoing surgery last Tuesday, McGahee had a wrap around his hand. Now he is left with a bandage on his knuckles, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos’ leading rusher will be back in the lineup at Oakland on Nov. 5.
“You do have an incision, and there is risk of infection,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “We feel better about that this week, and he’ll be day-to-day as we march from Wednesday.”
McGahee said he’s been in the training room every day since undergoing surgery, including a treatment session after Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. However, he said he has yet to hold a football since the procedure.
Returning to action Sunday would brighten McGahee’s outlook. So would successfully overturning the league’s judgment and fine.
“Oh, yeah, I’m appealing it,” he said. “I paid the price for it! I’ve got the injury on my hand; I (had) to have surgery.”
Denver ran for a season-high 195 yards without McGahee, but that tally was deceptive and didn’t illustrate the inconsistency of the ground game without the bellwether back. After gaining 50 yards on four first-possession carries, Denver only gained 31 on nine carries during its next seven series, with nary a first down to show for their efforts.
By the time the ground game got going against the Lions — it had 114 yards on 17 carries in the game’s final 27 minutes — the Broncos were hopelessly behind, trailing by 28 to 42 points.
“We had a rough time this game,” McGahee said.