Broncos placing Emmanuel Sanders on IR

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Emmanuel Sanders started his Wednesday on the practice field. He ended it on injured reserve.

Sanders tore his Achilles early in practice.

The Broncos have placed the receiver on injured reserve, Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News reports. Denver needed the roster spot after claiming receiver Andre Holmes off waivers from the Bills.

Sanders, 31, played all 12 games this season, making 71 catches for 868 yards and four touchdowns.

“It’s like I’ve said before: You don’t really replace guys,” Broncos quarterback Case Keenum told reporters Wednesday after Sanders’ injury. “Emmanuel, obviously one of the best guys I’ve ever worked with. From what I knew about him coming in, seeing how he worked, how he handled himself and how he led, it’s surpassed all of my expectations by far and away. He’s an incredible guy. [But] I have all the trust in the world in those other guys.”

The trade of Demaryius Thomas to Houston and the injury to Sanders opens up more opportunities for Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick, who have played in a combined 34 career games — all this season — and made a combined 37 receptions for 692 yards and four touchdowns.