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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It was a simple passing drill.

With no defense, the quarterback dropped back. Emmanuel Sanders from the left receiver line took off and cut in sharply about 3 yards out.

His left leg gave out. It looked like he slipped, but when Sanders took his helmet off and slammed it to the ground, followed by trainers and coaches coming over to attend to him, it didn’t look good.

The Broncos’ top receiver suffered a torn Achilles, a person with knowledge of the injury told KUSA. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

With four games remaining, Sanders was on his way to the second-best statistical season as he had 71 catches for 868 yards and four touchdowns. He had 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014, his first with the Broncos.

The season-ending injury is the latest blow to the Broncos’ starting lineup. In the last 31 days, the Broncos have lost starting center Matt Paradis (fractured fibula), left guard Max Garcia (torn ACL), tight end Jeff Heuerman (fractured ribs and bruised lung) and now apparently Sanders to season-ending injuries. And cornerback Chris Harris Jr. may well be out for the season with a fractured fibula, although there is hope he can return if the Broncos reach the postseason.

The Broncos are 6-6 with three straight wins. They play at 2-10 San Francisco this Sunday.

KUSA is a TEGNA station.

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