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Broncos put McGahee on IR, could return for playoffs

The SportsXchange

Running back Willis McGahee was placed on injured reserve by the Denver Broncos, but was designated to return and could participate in the postseason.

The Broncos initially hoped to avoid such a move after McGahee tore the MCL in his right knee during the second quarter of Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, but the Broncos decided they needed the roster spot.

McGahee is eligible to return to practice in six weeks (Jan. 2) and can be activated by the Broncos in eight weeks (Jan. 16). That would make him available for the AFC Championship Game in the event the Broncos make it that far.

McGahee's absence leaves Denver with rookie Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno at running back. It's uncertain whether the Broncos will attempt to sign another running back to take McGahee's roster spot. No corresponding roster move was immediately announced.

Hillman received the bulk of snaps last week against the Chargers after McGahee went down. Moreno, who missed the game, is expected to be activated this week.

McGahee had rushed for 731 yards and four touchdowns this season after racking up 1,199 yards in in 2011, his first year with the Broncos after four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

Hillman has rushed for 188 yards, Ball 94 and Moreno 15 this season.

Hillman has rushed for 188 yards, Ball 94 and Moreno 15 this season.

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