- Associated Press - Thursday, August 5, 2010

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - Denver Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil’s season might be sacked by a torn chest muscle.

A person familiar with the injury to Dumervil told The Associated Press on Thursday that the reigning NFL sacks king could be sidelined for up to five months, making it difficult for Dumervil to return this season. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Coach Josh McDaniels said the team is evaluating courses of treatment for the pass rusher and there is no timetable for his return. Surgery hasn’t been ruled out, either.

Dumervil was hurt at practice Wednesday night in a 1-on-1 passing drill, and walked off the field clutching his right arm. The Broncos described the injury as to the “pectoral area of his chest.”

The 26-year-old Dumervil led the league with 17 sacks in 2009 and parlayed his breakout season into a five-year, $58.332 million extension last month that included $43.168 million in guarantees against injury, a record for a player at his position.

“Nobody is going to replace him as an individual. We know that,” McDaniels said. “We’re not going to try to do that.”

Without Dumervil, the Broncos lack a bona fide pass rusher. Defensive lineman Darrell Reid had four sacks last year, the most of any other returning Broncos player. But he’s sidelined with a knee ailment and hasn’t participated in training camp.

The other outside linebackers, former first-round picks Robert Ayers and Jarvis Moss, didn’t have a sack last year. Mario Haggan played on the other side of Dumervil in ‘09, but was moved into the middle during training camp. He may just be moved back to the outside in light of Dumervil’s injury.

Elvis wouldn’t want us to bow our heads and think it’s the end of the world,” Ayers said. “That’s not what we’re going to do. … We’ve got to keep the show going.”

The Broncos will stick to their 3-4 scheme but are considering sprinkling in some of their old 4-3 alignments.

McDaniels beefed up his defensive line through free agency in the offseason and the centerpiece of that project, nose tackle Jamal Williams, practiced Thursday for the first time since camp started.

The 348-pound Williams, who spent his first 12 seasons with division rival San Diego, was brought in to be a run-stuffer and help push the pocket, allowing players such as Dumervil to apply more pressure to the quarterback.

“We’re not going to change the style of defense that we have. They’re might be a bigger body out on the edge sometimes,” McDaniels said. “It may take a few people, may take some creativity for us.”

Training camp has certainly gotten off to a bad start for the Broncos.

On Thursday, the team placed receiver Kenny McKinley (knee) and safety Josh Barrett (shoulder) on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

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