Denver Broncos first-string running back Montee Ball will most likely miss the rest of the team’s preseason while he recovers from an appendectomy. Ball was scheduled to go under the knife on Monday afternoon to have his appendix removed, ESPN reports.
“He started feeling the effects — not feeling really good yesterday– and then of course came in today not feeling very good, which is typical of that prognosis,” Broncos coach John Fox told reporters after Monday’s practice (via ESPN). “Our medical people got him to the doctor and determined that’s what it was. It didn’t explode or anything … it’s really a blessing we caught it now.”
If Ball’s surgery is routine, his prognosis is good. He’ll be expected to play in the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 7.
Despite missing valuable preseason practice, though, Ball seems to be in good spirits about the whole thing.
I appreciate the get well wishes everyone! I will be ok and come back stronger than ever!! #Broncos
— Montee Ball (@ballrb28) August 4, 2014
In his place, Coach Fox will be able to get a better look at Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, who have been playing back up to Ball. Ball was recently promoted to the top position after the Broncos let Knowshon Moreno go. Per ESPN, the running back seems to have been on an upswing until now:
Ball averaged 4.7 yards per carry last season, but averaged at least five yards a carry in five of the last six games of the 2013 regular season. After losing three fumbles in the first 10 games last year, Ball didn’t lose a fumble in the final six games of the regular season or in the Broncos’ three postseason games.
Fox is not worried about the temporary setback, however. He told reporters (via ESPN), “[Ball’s] really grown a lot as far as his understanding of the offense and execution of all parts of his job. … Knowing what kind of guy he is … mentally he’ll stay on top of his game.”