ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Tough-luck tight end Jake Butt said he's opted to have arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left knee , a procedure scheduled for Thursday that he hopes will speed his return to the field.
Still, his 2019 season could be in jeopardy because so many Denver Broncos players are sidelined that general manager John Elway and coach Vic Fangio will have several tough decisions to make when paring the roster to 53 players this weekend.
Butt, a third-year pro, has only played in three NFL games, all of them last season before he tore his left ACL at practice in September. He missed his rookie season in 2017 after tearing his other ACL in his final game for Michigan. He also tore his right ACL during his sophomore season in Ann Arbor.
Butt slowly worked his way back into action during the offseason this year but a week into training camp, pain and swelling in his left knee sidelined him for three weeks. He finally was able to play last weekend when he caught two passes for 17 yards against the Los Angeles Rams, declaring himself healthy afterward.
The swelling and pain returned, however, and on Wednesday he said in a Twitter post that he was going to have arthroscopic surgery to clean up his left knee.
"This is the best decision to get me back on the field and stay there," Butt tweeted. He noted he had a similar procedure after his first ACL injury, "and I went on to play some of the best football of my career in the two years following."
He added that he's confident he'll be able to play this season and that his frequent setbacks haven't diminished his desire to play football. He said he doesn't want anyone's pity and hopes his resolve inspires others who are facing tough times.
"A positive mindset, a strong will, hard work, faith, prayer, and trust can take you so far in life. If you're going through a tough time ... weather the storm. There is hope. It will get better. There's a lot to be learned and gained from dark days. Don't miss it by feeling sorry!" Butt wrote.
Butt didn't attend the Broncos' annual kickoff luncheon Wednesday at the team's indoor training facility, where safety Dymonte Thomas showed up on crutches with a knee injury that hadn't been disclosed.
The Broncos have a number of difficult decisions coming on cutdown day with so many players sidelined but expected to be healthy in the coming weeks.
In addition to Butt and Thomas, QB Drew Lock (thumb), linebackers Todd Davis (calf) and Joe Jones (triceps), running back Theo Riddick (shoulder), fullback Andy Janovich (chest) and guard Ronald Leary (knee) are all hurt.
The only way Butt would possibly be able to play in 2019 is to make the roster Saturday and either stay there or go on IR with a potential recall at midseason.
One player who's made a strong comeback this summer is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders , who had surgery on his left Achilles tendon and his right ankle but said Wednesday he's faster at age 32 than he was in his late 20s.
"I feel like I'm back," Sanders said. "I've ran the fastest I've ran since I've been a Bronco. I clocked 21.3 mph, so I feel really good."
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton