Joel Dreessen is expected to miss the rest of Denver Broncos training camp after suffering a setback in his recovery from June knee surgery, USA Today reports. Dreessen will have to undergo arthroscopic surgery once again on his left knee. He had practiced without limitation through Friday, but was held out of Saturday's scrimmage due to knee pain.
With Jacob Tamme battling a quadriceps injury, the Broncos are currently without their top two tight ends as they prepare for the 2013 season. Dreessen's setback will give Julius Thomas a chance to prove he deserves regular playing time, even when Tamme and Dreessen are healthy. The 2011 fourth-round pick has earned sparse playing time through two seasons, in large part due to his own injury problems.
Though the Broncos appear to be relatively deep at tight end, Dreessen's absence would be significant if it extended into the regular season, according to Broncos blog Mile High Report:
Last year Dreessen proved to be one of the Broncos most potent weapons on offense. Per Pro Football Focus, Joel was the highest rated TE in the NFL with just one drop in 80 targets. He registered 41 receptions with 356 yards and 5 TD's--most of those scoring catches coming in the Red Zone.
Due to the fragility of Dreessen and Tamme, the Broncos may keep four tight ends on the final roster. Along with Thomas, Virgil Green is also competing for playing time.