Joel Dreessen has arthroscopic knee surgery

AP

If Julius Thomas was looking for an opportunity to force his way into the Broncos lineup after playing just nine games in his first two seasons, he just got it.

Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is a former basketball player with physical gifts that have intrigued the Broncos but injuries have kept him from catching more than one pass in his career thus far. He’s going to have a chance to show the Broncos that he’s capable of much more this spring, however.

Tight end Joel Dreessen, who started 15 games and caught 41 passes last season, will be out until training camp after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Coach John Fox didn’t sound worried about Dreessen and shone a spotlight on Thomas’ chance to impress the coaches.

“Just a little knee procedure, scope, done, just to clean it up,” Fox said, via Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post. “It’s been a good deal for Julius.”

Assuming all is well with Dreessen come camp, Thomas will probably still be in a backup role. If his extended chance to show off his skills reveals abilities lacking elsewhere, though, Thomas might be able to work his way into the rotation after two years on the outside looking in.