Sore ribs hampering tight end

Updated: November 26, 2003, 11:40 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe sat out practice Wednesday and wasn't sure if his sore ribs would heal in time to play Sunday against Oakland.

Sharpe said he will try jogging on Thursday, then test his ribs in practice Friday to see if he can tolerate the pain.

"I don't want to have any setbacks, but by the same token I have to be able to convince Mike [Shanahan] and Gary [Kubiak] that I can go out there and play more than one play. I would hate to take a roster spot where we could give that to somebody else on Sunday."

Sharpe dislocated cartilage between his ribs against Chicago Sunday, when Bears safety Bobby Gray hit him in the fourth quarter. Sharpe said the injury has improved every day, but it's still quite sore.

"It's everything you do. Sudden movements, actually running, and it gets a little hard to breathe," Sharpe said. "We'll come up with a solution that we feel will give me the best protection, but also keeps me fairly free where I can go out and do my normal thing."

The Broncos probably won't know until just before Sunday's game if middle linebacker Al Wilson will be able to play.

Wilson has been bothered by a pinched nerve in his neck since training camp, an injury that has grown worse in recent weeks. Tests results Monday came back negative, but Wilson said he gets a shooting pain down his left arm whenever he hits someone head-on.

"It's nothing, at least from the doctor's opinion, [that] is a threatening situation," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Now that's easy to say, but as soon as he takes that first hit in practice, how does it feel? I don't know that. We're probably not even going to take a shot at taking that hit until game day, so we won't know."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press