Broncos receiver Wes Welker made a quick return from the first diagnosed concussion he suffered during the 2013 season. His second concussion, which came three weeks to the day later, has resulted in a significantly longer absence.
According to Chris Mortensen and Jeff Legwold of ESPN, Welker likely won’t play again until the postseason.
On Thursday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that Welker won’t play when the Broncos travel to Houston, the site of Welker’s Week 17 torn ACL four years ago. Per the ESPN report, Welker also will miss the regular-season finale at Oakland.
While it’s no surprise that the Broncos will keep Welker safe as the elimination round approaches, there’s no guarantee he’ll be available in the playoffs. Concussion symptoms can linger, as Redskins tight end Jordan Reed recently has learned. For Welker, it’s possible that his symptoms will linger into January.
There’s also a sense in some league circles that Welker, who has caught plenty of passes and taken plenty of hits over the years, may be feeling the effects of past concussions, diagnosed or not.
The Broncos scored 20 points in their only game of the season without Welker, a loss to the Chargers. While the Broncos have plenty of other weapons, they can’t afford to lose another regular-season game, or they’ll risk falling from the No. 1 all the way to No. 5.
That would give the Chiefs the top seed, and it likely would force Peyton Manning to return to Indianapolis (again) in the wild-card round.