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Broncos TE Jeff Heuerman out for season after breaking three ribs

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-11-27 16:02:01

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman, who is third on the team with 31 receptions, will miss the remainder of the season with three fractured ribs and a bruised lung.

Heuerman suffered the injury in Sunday's 24-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers as he finished the game with two catches for 44 yards in his 43 snaps.

"Obviously Heuerman's a big loss,'' Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Monday. "... He's had a great year, he'll be missed.''

Heuerman had seen his workload in the passing game increase after the trade of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

He has had 11, five and three targets in the past three games and had a career-best 83 yards and 10 catches in the Broncos' Week 9 loss to the Houston Texans. That game against the Texans was the Broncos' first since the trade of Thomas to Houston.

Heuerman has struggled with injuries at times in his career, right from his first rookie minicamp with the team when he tore his ACL in 2015. Heuerman has not played more than 14 games in any of his three seasons since the knee injury and missed time in this year's training camp with knee troubles.

With Jake Butt having already gone to injured reserve with a torn ACL earlier this season, the Broncos have just two healthy tight ends on the roster -- Matt LaCosse and Brian Parker. LaCosse will get more work in the passing game moving forward -- he had three receptions in Sunday's win over the Steelers, including his first career touchdown.

LaCosse played 27 snaps on offense against the Steelers while Parker played nine plays on offense as the Broncos had used a three-tight-end look on several snaps before Heuerman's injury.

Also for the Broncos, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who plays in the rotation in the team's pass-rush looks, could miss the next month with a rib cartilage injury.

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