By Tom Keppeler, Shoulder1 Staff
When Brian Griese separated his shoulder and played through the pain last month, experts thought it was his last brave hoorah for the season. A shoulder separation isn't easy to recover from, and it certainly isn't painless.
However, the Denver Broncos quarterback may return for the team's season closer December 23. Head Coach Mike Shanahan told the Associated Press yesterday Griese has a "realistic chance" of rebounding from the injury for the game against the San Francisco 49ers.
When Griese separated the shoulder November 13, he was chased out of bounds and immediately began complaining of shoulder pain. He was later diagnosed with a Grade-3 separation, with his bones torn over an inch away from each other. Numbed by painkillers, Griese returned to the game to usher in a 27-24 win against Oakland.
Griese began practicing again last week, throwing short lobs of about 10 to 15 yards, the AP reported. "In one week's time, he has made more improvement than I thought," Shanahan told the AP. "After looking at him last week, I think there was a big enough improvement."
The quarterback's return is expected to give the team a pre-playoff boost, although the Broncos have done fine without him. They have won six straight games, including four led by Gus Frerotte.
According to the AP, Griese has thrown 19 touchdown passes and four interceptions this year.