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Whitney Mercilus returns to practice Friday

Posted Aug 30, 2013

Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus practiced with the team on Friday for the first time since tweaking his hamstring on July 29.

Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus practiced with the team on Friday for the first time since tweaking his hamstring on July 29. After missing all of the preseason with the injury, Mercilus returns with just over a week until the season opener in San Diego.

“The thing I’m concerned about obviously is some guys that we’re counting on huge have missed time,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “It goes back to (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus). Whitney is back to work today. Worked with the team, looks great. But the fact is he hasn’t had a preseason.”

The second-year linebacker, who recorded six sacks in his rookie season, was expected to be a starter with the offseason departure of Connor Barwin to Philadelphia. Mercilus missed out on crucial reps when he did not return for the remainder of training camp. Kubiak did not want to rush his return, choosing instead to wait it out and keep Mercilus healthy for the start of the regular season.

“Hopefully it doesn’t hurt him at all,” Kubiak said of the missed playing time. “There is nothing we can do. He gets the hamstring early in camp. If you bring him back too soon, then you can lose him for a long period of time. I think we probably could’ve pushed him around New Orleans time, there at the end, and could’ve played him last night, but it got to that point where hey we’ve made it this far. Let’s make sure we have him ready to go against San Diego. A lot of it is up to him. He’s been working hard.”

While Mercilus was out, he had been working out on the side field, running individual drills throughout camp and the preseason. His return answers a big question at weakside linebacker opposite Brooks Reed.

“He’s been working extremely hard with the trainers,” Kubiak said. “Just getting back on the field with us is a big thing.”

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