The lockers of the running backs who might take Willis McGahee's spot in the Broncos lineup are conveniently lined up, four in a row.
Lance Ball. Knowshon Moreno. Jeremiah Johnson. Ronnie Hillman.
Barring an unlikely free agent signing, some combination of those four will be asked to fill in for the foreseeable future for Denver's leading rusher, McGahee, who tore a ligament in his right knee and will be out for what's expected to be a six-to-eight week stint.
"We've all got to step up and do our part," Hillman said. "Anyone can be an option."
Coach John Fox said McGahee's injury, suffered in the second quarter of Denver's 30-23 victory over San Diego on Sunday, will not require surgery and that the Broncos had no immediate plans to put the 10th-year veteran on injured reserve.
By not putting him on injured reserve, the Broncos, at 7-3 and with a three-game lead in the AFC West, could be thinking about a playoff-time return for their leading rusher, who has 731 yards this year and was having one of his best games of the season 55 yards on seven carries before the injury Sunday.
Around the league
Patriots • Rob Gronkowski is recovering from surgery for a broken forearm that will sideline the New England tight end for the first time in his three NFL seasons. Gronkowski went to the locker room with team physician Thomas Gill in the fourth quarter after blocking on an extra point in the Patriots' 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. He caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the game, becoming the first tight end in NFL history with at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.
Ravens • Star safety Ed Reed was suspended for one game by the NFL on Monday for repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. The 11-year veteran will miss Sunday's game against San Diego. Reed is suspended for three violations of the player safety rules in the past three seasons. The latest came in Sunday night's 13-10 victory over Pittsburgh when he was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter for a hit to the head of receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Redskins • Safety Brandon Meriweather is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, one day after his impressive season debut in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Meriweather went down without contact early in the third quarter of Sunday's 31-6 victory. He had one interception, broke up two passes and had seven tackles despite playing a little more than half of the game. Meriweather missed the first nine games with sprained ligaments in his left knee.