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December 12, 2013

Concussion sidelines Welker for Bolts game

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Wes Welker won’t play tonight against San Diego as he recovers from his second concussion in less than a month.

Broncos coach John Fox officially ruled him out Wednesday.

The NFL’s protocol for concussed players would have allowed Welker only to participate in light practice Thursday and only if he had passed baseline cognitive tests earlier in the week. For competitive purposes, Fox had been coy about Welker’s status during the week, other than to say the receiver’s health was the team’s top priority.

Fox also said defensive tackle Derek Wolfe (illness) would miss his third straight game when the Broncos (11-2) host the Chargers (6-7)

Welker was going low to catch a pass Sunday when Tennessee safety George Wilson legally hit him in the side of his neck, knocking him from the game.

Welker also sustained a concussion Nov. 17 against Kansas City but played the following week at New England, where he spent his previous six seasons.

Welker has 73 catches for 778 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns.

Tight end Jacob Tamme figures to serve as an able substitute in the slot. He filled in admirably when Julius Thomas was sidelined by a knee injury for two weeks and last week he had four catches for 47 yards after Welker got hurt.

“His role has changed this year,” said Peyton Manning, who also played with Tamme in Indianapolis. “He caught 61 passes last year. Obviously, Julius has played well this year and Tamme hasn’t had as much playing, but he’s had a great attitude. And when his number has been called he’s come in there and been outstanding.”

Wolfe hasn’t practiced since suffering a seizure-like episode Nov. 29. He made a brief appearance at practice Wednesday on his way to work out with the team’s training staff and looked much lighter than his listed weight of 285 pounds.

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