Gold expects quick recovery from surgery

Updated: October 23, 2003, 7:56 PM ET

DENVER -- Given a positive prognosis by his surgeon, Denver Broncos linebacker Ian Gold expects to recover from knee surgery within four months.

Gold tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Pittsburgh on Oct. 12 and underwent season-ending surgery five days later.

Speaking to the media for the first time since the injury, Gold said Thursday his spirits have been bolstered by his teammates and the Broncos' medical personnel.

In particular, Gold took comfort in remarks by the team surgeon, Dr. Richard Steadman.

"His words were, `The surgery went perfect' and the trainers say he's never said anything like that before," Gold said. "So that definitely has helped me stay pretty optimistic about the surgery. Now it's just a matter of rehabbing and working hard to get back."

Asked the timetable for his recovery, Gold said, "They say four to six months. I feel like I'll be back within four months.

"They say I'm on an accelerated pace. The trainers share information about other players and how they've progressed, and they say I'm kind of ahead of them."

Gold, the Broncos' second-leading tackler at the time of his injury, was injured without contact.

"I just went to plant and cut and my knee partially came out of the socket," he said. "I didn't really have a lot of pain. Initially it felt like my leg was on fire. I was sick when I heard it was the ACL.

"But with the support of my teammates and the coaching staff and family and friends, I'm really trying to stay positive. The hardest part is this rehab. The surgery was a piece of cake. But now you've got to get yourself motivated to come in here and work hard every single day to get back to 100 percent."

The injury came at an inopportune time in Gold's career. He is in the final year of a four-year contract he signed when he was a second-round draft choice in 2000 out of Michigan.

It could affect his value in the free-agent market, but Gold said he wants to remain in Denver.

The feeling is mutual.

"I've talked to (coach) Mike Shanahan about this already," Gold said. "He said this will have no impact on my new contract at all. He's told me, as well as my agent, that he wants me to be here for as long as he's here."

In August, Shanahan was given a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2008 season.

"He said, `I want you here for six years or longer," Gold said. "That gave me peace of mind. It kind of minimizes the impact that I thought this injury would have. The objective is to stay with one team for your whole career. That was my mindset coming in. I love this organization. They've been good to me."

Shanahan called Gold "an excellent football player. We're going to try to keep him around here for a long time. I'll be surprised if a contract doesn't get done."

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^THIN AT RECEIVER:@ The Broncos might be without two wide receivers for Sunday's game in Baltimore.

Shanahan said the Broncos will downgrade wide receiver Ed McCaffrey from questionable to doubtful on their injury report because of a knee injury.

McCaffrey sat out Thursday's workout, complaining of soreness.

"I don't know if it's tendinitis or exactly what it is," Shanahan said. "He practiced (Wednesday) and just didn't feel he could go (Thursday). Right now, it's not looking good for the game."

Chris Cole, who doubles as a kick returner, was only a partial participant in Thursday's workout because of a sprained left ankle.

"He's a question mark, too," Shanahan said. "When you've got a couple of wide receivers out, it obviously limits you. We'll have to wait and see. We might even activate somebody if both of those guys can't go."

The Broncos have two wide receivers -- Nate Jackson and Charlie Adams -- on their practice squad.

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^EXTRA POINTS:@ Denver had a total of 15 players on its injury report, with QB Jake Plummer (broken foot), OT Ephraim Salaam (knee) and DE Bryant McNeal (lower back) listed as "out." ... C Tom Nalen (ankle) and TE Shannon Sharpe (knee) both practiced Thursday after missing Wednesday's session.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index