UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2:48 p.m. ET by Patrick Clarke
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 27 at 3:20 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg
Although Willis McGahee has been listed as questionable on injury reports, he is likely to play on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
According to Lindsay H. Jones of the Denver Post, McGahee practiced with the team in each of the last two days. His ribs are apparently still sore from a hit he took in Week 3, but reports are that he should be fine.
Lance Ball, who was slated to get the majority of carries if the veteran could not suit up, will remain at second string.
Opponents are averaging 116.3 rushing yards per game against the Raiders, so fantasy owners should feel confident starting the Broncos running back if he is declared active for the game.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10:15 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Though Willis McGahee will likely be listed as questionable heading in to Sunday's Week 4 matchup with the Oakland Raiders, fantasy owners and Broncos fans should expect the tough-nosed veteran to play. McGahee practiced yesterday and emerged feeling better than he did in Week 3, according to Denver Post's Staff.
Running back Willis McGahee and guard Chris Kuper were limited participants in practice Wednesday.
For McGahee, who suffered a rib injury against the Texans, it was a positive sign toward playing against the Raiders.
"Three days ago it was a little tough," McGahee said. "Today, running around, it felt pretty good."
---END OF UPDATE---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 1:45 p.m. ET
McGahee was able to practice today despite a rib injury that forced him to miss the end of Denver's loss to the Texans, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post.
Willis McGahee (ribs) is at practice for broncos. Full roll call to come.— Lindsay Jones (@PostBroncos) September 26, 2012
It's a good sign that he was able to practice already. If the Broncos were concerned about the injury, they would have probably let him rest for another day or two. No official update was given on his playing status for Sunday, though.
More should be known over the next few days.
---End of update---
The 30-year-old suffered a rib injury in Week 3 against the Houston Texans. Head coach John Fox said McGahee's injury involved cartilage but wouldn't elaborate. It's nothing new for a franchise that generally likes to keep injury info on the down low.
McGahee had been inconsistent before leaving Week 3's game. He started the season with 64 rushing yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then exploded for 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons but was limited to 30 yards on 12 carries in the Texans game.
The 10-year veteran wasn't considered a big-time fantasy back even before the Texans game. He was ranked No. 22 among running backs by ESPN going into Sunday's contest.
Backups Lance Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno will likely get the carries in McGahee's absence. Ball had the most carries of the three against the Texans with seven, managing just 16 yards. Hillman rushed twice for seven yards.
The Broncos face the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. The Raiders upset the Steelers in Week 3, holding Pittsburgh to just 54 rushing yards on 20 carries (lead back Isaac Redman managed just 27 yards on nine carries).
On the other hand, the Oakland pass defense has been picked apart this season, allowing 265 passing yards per game (26th in the NFL) and six passing touchdowns (tied for 25th). Ben Roethlisberger went 36-of-49 for 384 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 3.
Whether McGahee starts or not, it's likely the Broncos go to the air more often in Week 4 with Peyton Manning under center.