Onlookers noted the Broncos' practice on Tuesday for its intensity, and unfortunately, the price of going hard when it doesn't yet count can sometimes come with a heavy price.
A day after longtime starting right guard Chris Kuper was lost to a broken bone in his forearm (four to six weeks), the news is worse on newly-minted starting defensive end Jason Hunter.
Hunter suffered a torn triceps that will cost him at least two months, and possibly the entire season; a similar injury forced DT Ty Warren to miss all of 2011.
According to Mike Klis, Hunter was hurt while attacking a blocking sled during a drill.
Hunter, who turns 29 on August 28, excelled as a linebacker during his first season with Denver in 2010, grading out at plus-5.6 (772 snaps) according to PFF. As a reserve defensive end (415 snaps) last season, he fell off to a minus-2.6 grade.
But he had been so impressive in this training camp, that he displaced incumbent starter Robert Ayers and drew heaping praise from defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Behind Hunter on the team's official depth chart is second-round pick Derek Wolfe, followed by second-year player Jeremy Beal, who had two sacks in Thursday night's preseason opener at Chicago.
Ayers is listed as Elvis Dumervil's primary backup, but it's likely he'll see more playing time opposite Dumervil with Hunter's injury.