Jay Glazer is reporting that the Broncos will place running back Willis McGahee on season-ending IR today.
Although there had been reports that the 31-year-old would be able to recover from his torn MCL and leg fracture in time for the playoffs, the team has obviously given up on that possibility.
Mike Klis reports that the move has not yet been finalized, and that Denver may designate McGahee as eligible to return. Adam Schefter is reporting that the decision has been made, and that the back could be back in time for the AFC Championship game, should Denver make it that far. Lindsay Jones has gotten confirmation of that from Denver PR man Patrick Smythe.
While McGahee had struggled with fumbles (he dubiously leads all non-QBs with five) this season, he had been highly effective both carrying the ball (167 carries, 731 yards, four TDs, 4.4 YPA) and in the passing game (26 receptions, 221 yards).
Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball have seen an increased role in recent weeks, and on Sunday combined for 23 touches and 115 yards from scrimmage, although Ball lost a fumble after a second-quarter reception.
2009 first-rounder Knowshon Moreno figures to be activated Sunday for the first time since Denver's Week 2 loss at Atlanta, and the team also has the option of promoting Jeremiah Johnson from the practice squad.
Denver worked out former Texans and Dolphins RB Steve Slaton on Tuesday, but have not signed him as of yet. Jason La Canfora had reported that the team would sign Slaton if McGahee indeed went to IR, but that remains to be seen.