Chris Kuper fell to the ground, and his foot was pointing the wrong way. The Broncos guard was injured early in Denver's Week 17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It was one of the most gruesome injuries of the season.
Most of the time, injuries happen below the surface and out of view. Not this one. The cameras caught Kuper on the ground with his left leg in the air and his foot dangling limp and pointed 180 degrees to the outside.
Kuper's injury is being reported as a broken leg, which is not surprising given the way his foot appeared to be attached to his leg with only the aid of his skin.
It is hard to imagine that Kuper will be able to return anytime this season. That is a huge blow to the Broncos, who are already limping into the playoffs having lost three straight.
Kuper has been one of the Broncos best linemen since 2007. He is at the heart of this offense and one of the team's captains.
He was replaced by Russ Hochstein, but Hochstein ended up limping off the field. He was replaced by tackle Chris Clark. This is all a huge concern for a Broncos offense that has to run the ball to be effective.
This will limit any holes they are able to open for their running backs and also will hurt the continuity of the line in pass protection.
This is going to be especially problematic, as they will face the Pittsburgh Steelers and their complex blitz schemes in the first round of the playoffs.