Dumervil plans to practice Friday, play Sunday
Dumervil first has to show he's healthy enough to play and Williams has to prove he's knocked off the rust.
Dumervil hasn't practiced all week but plans to test his sprained left shoulder at practice Friday in hopes the Broncos (6-3) will clear him to face the Chargers (4-5). The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end was injured at Carolina last weekend but medical tests this week showed no torn muscles or ligaments.
"My goal is to play," Dumervil said. "That's what I've got to look toward tomorrow, coming out and getting a good practice in and getting ready."
Dumervil had a similar injury to the same shoulder that sidelined him for two games and most of a third last season, but he said this injury is "nowhere near" as serious or as painful as that one was.
He leads the AFC with five forced fumbles and has seven sacks.
"I do miss him being out here," cornerback Champ Bailey said Thursday. "I don't want him to miss any time."
Neither does Von Miller, the other half of Denver's "Doom & Gloom" pass-rushing duo, although he still had a monster game when Dumervil went out and was replaced by Robert Ayers and rookie Malik Jackson.
Williams returned this week from two suspensions that kept him out of the first nine games.
"He's been looking good in practice," Miller said. "He's in shape. He's right on point, he's looking sharp. I'm sure he'll have fresh legs on Sunday. I'm quite confident he'll have a good game on Sunday."
He'll have to return to the roster first and then get activated on game day.
At any rate, it could be some time before Williams returns to a heavy load because Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking and Miller have played so well in his absence, as has rookie Danny Trevathan in the nickel packages.
Barring injury, Williams, the team's leading tackler in four of the last five seasons, will likely have to make his mark on special teams and in sub packages early on. Still, his teammates expect him to quickly work his way back into a prominent role.
"He makes us more explosive," Dumervil said. "He's athletic, he's smart, he's a great athlete. So, it's huge. I think we can do a lot more different things. Having D.J. back brings us more depth. I think guys have been playing at a high level and having a guy like that come on board" only bodes well for the stretch run.
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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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