Montee Ball's season has come to an end.
The Denver Broncos placed the running back on season-ending injured reserve, the team announced Saturday.
Ball entered the season as the Broncos' No. 1 tailback after the team let Knowshon Moreno walk in the offseason. However, the 24-year-old has suffered an injury-riddled season after amassing 559 yards on 120 carries his rookie year.
Ball underwent an emergency appendectomy following Denver's first preseason game. After starting the first three regular-season games Ball suffered a groin injury in Week 5. Upon returning in Week 11, Ball re-aggravated the injury on just his fourth snap of the game.
The medical news was better for Lamar Miller, the Dolphins running back who sustained an AC joint sprain — more commonly known as a separated shoulder — against the Chargers. Miller is considered day to day, but there’s a good chance he will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the Miami Herald has learned.
Miller has started every game this year and is the team’s leading rusher at 518 yards on 106 carries (a 4.9 yards-per-rush average). With Knowshon Moreno already lost for the season, the Dolphins are perilously thin at the position. The other three running backs who have played for the Dolphins this year have collectively averaged just 3.1 yards per carry.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor provided no insight into Miller’s availability when he met with reporters Monday. But Lazor did not seem overly concerned about the prospect of playing without Miller, if that is the case.
Keep in mind it's not a great matchup for Miller as they travel to take on the Lions. Should the third-year back miss Sunday’s game in Detroit, the Dolphins would start either Daniel Thomas or Damien Williams, who finished Sunday’s game after Miller was injured. Be sure to check our rankings, but Miller is likely going to be a lower-end RB2 option.
Dolphins running back Lamar Miller downplayed the left shoulder injury he suffered in Sunday’s 37-0 victory against San Diego. Miller said he had only a “stinger” and that he could have returned if the game had been close.
He looked in pain on the sideline and had trouble raising his left arm.
“I’m good, Miller said. “I’ll get some treatment and I should be all right.”
As we've said many times, we can't always trust when a player comments on an injury, especially when he says he's going to be OK. If Miller were to miss any time, the Dolphins would be down to Daniel Thomas — who was cut before the season and re-signed after Moreno was injured — and undrafted rookie Damien Williams. It's at least potentially good news for Miller owners. However, keep in mind Week 10 is a tough matchup at Detroit for Miller and the Dolphins running game.
Friday, October 17, 2014, 6:20pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (knee, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 7. Miller is a borderline RB1 now that Knowshon Moreno is out for the season. The probable tag indicates that he should be fine to face the Bears.
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:18pm
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 6:35pm
Moreno played in just three games this season and rushed for 10 yards on six carries in Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Moreno was an important part of Miami's rushing attack. He was second on the team in carries (31) and rushing yards (148). Moreno also averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
But injuries have hampered Moreno all season. He had knee surgery in the summer and missed a portion of training camp. Moreno also suffered an elbow injury that kept him out of two games in the regular season before suffering his latest season-ending knee injury.
This pretty much came out of nowhere. Moreno, who signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins, will become an unrestricted free agent next March. It now looks like Lamar Miller (330 rushing yards, three touchdowns) will carry an even bigger load for the Dolphins with Daniel Thomas chipping in as well. Damien Williams and LaMichael James could also see time but this looks like it's mainly going to be Miller's job.
Broncos beat writer Jeff Legwold: With Montee Ball expected to miss three weeks, look for Ronnie Hillman to get the majority of snaps as the lead running back, with help from C.J. Anderson and rookie Juwan Thompson. Since Peyton Manning was signed in 2012, the Broncos' lead running back had 65 percent of the carries in 2012 (Willis McGahee), 52.3 percent in '13 (Knowshon Moreno) and 55.6 percent so far this year (Ball). Hillman should get roughly 55 percent of the carries and roughly 60 percent of the snaps as the lead guy.
It's a bit dangerous to assume that Hillman's snaps and touches will reach certain benchmarks based on the history with Denver running backs since we're not sure that the team has settled on Hillman as the primary guy with Ball out. Anderson and Thompson have both been involved and could see more touches than expected.
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:13pm
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (foot, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 6. Miller will be fine to face the Packers. His workload is a bit up in the air with Knowshon Moreno also probable, but our bet is that the Dolphins don’t overwork Moreno in his first week back.
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:13pm
Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 6. The probable tag indicates that Moreno will play, but there has been no indication what his role will be. Our bet is that the Dolphins won’t overwork him in his first game back and that Lamar Miller will continue to run as the primary back.
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 6:46pm
Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow) took limited practice reps again Thursday. The Dolphins are trying to determine if he can play with a bulky brace on his elbow. If he returns this week, it would put a dent in Lamar Miller’s potential upside. He was noncommittal on Thursday.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 6:37pm
Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow) took limited practice reps Wednesday. The Dolphins are trying to determine if he can play with a bulky brace on his elbow. If he returns this week, it would put a dent in Lamar Miller’s potential upside.
"I think it's just a matter of him getting used to playing with it in practice. He's got to get a feel of it and carrying the ball with it, pass protection," coach Joe Philbin said. "Obviously we just can't have him in there when we are running the ball or free release him all the time. Those are things we take the practice week to figure out."
When Moreno is cleared to play he'll likely compete with Daniel Thomas for the role as Miami's third-down back, which was the spot he held in the season opener.
The Dolphins' rushing attack has done just fine without Moreno, averaging 142.3 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. Miami enters this Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, who are allowing 163 rushing yards per game, fifth in the NFL in rushing. Lamar Miller did well against the Chiefs and Dolphins so the matchups were favorable, and many feel he's not lead back material. The story mentions Moreno will compete with Thomas for third down back duties, but there really shouldn't be much competition here assuming Moreno can perform. Moreno was arguably their lead back before he got hurt.
Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno either made a miraculous comeback during the bye week or he has a really strange sense of humor, but he returned to practice on Monday after saying he’d be out four more weeks.
Before leaving for the bye week, Moreno said matter-of-factly he had about four more weeks to go in his recovery. He was asked twice if he serious, and he said yes.
Regardless, it’s looking like Moreno could be back in time for Sunday’s home game against Green Bay. His arm was wrapped but he participated in team drills — a good sign this early in the week.
Moreno hasn’t played since injuring his elbow on his first drive of a Week 2 loss to Buffalo.
Surprising news as Moreno said he had about a month to go in his recovery. Moreno emerged as the lead back for the Dolphins before getting hurt early in Week 2. Lamar Miller filled in nicely, but had a couple of favorable matchups. Given what seems to be some kind of misunderstanding between Moreno and the press in his recovery time, it's possible the Dolphins ease Moreno back into action, and he at least splits carries with Miller. Either way, this hurt's Miller's value a bit going forward, especially for owners who thought he had the lead role for several more weeks.
“I probably got like four more weeks,” Moreno said. “About four more weeks and I’ll be good.”
It was a surprising dose of honesty from Moreno who can be coy with the media. Moreno was asked twice if he was being serious, and he said yes.
Lamar Miller will continue to hold RB2 value as long as Moreno is sidelined.
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