On Wednesday evening, #BroncosTwitter shifted to DEFCON 2 following a cryptic announcement involving Denver Broncos general manager John Elway and a purported medical disorder.
On Thursday, Elway traveled to New York for a media junket during which he revealed his diagnosis of Dupuytren’s contracture — also known as “Viking’s Disease” — a progressive hand condition that he’s dealt with for the last decade-and-a-half.
“I couldn’t pick up a football … for me not to be able to pick up a football, that was an emergency,” Elway admitted on NBC’s “Today” show.
Often mistaken for arthritis, Dupuytren’s contracture occurs when “collagen builds up in the hand beneath the surface of the skin, forming a rope-like cord on the palm,” leading to finger abnormalities and issues with gripping, per the Denver Channel.
The condition predominantly affects men older than 40 — an estimated 16 million people in total. At the time of his diagnosis, Elway’s lone course of action was to go under the knife. But medical advancements led to a non-surgical option the 59-year-old claimed has worked wonders.
“I’m doing great today,” Elway added. “It’s a condition with your hand that essentially pulls your fingers in towards [your hand] and eventually it gets to the point where you can’t straighten it at all. I got diagnosed with it 15 years ago…I had enough surgeries when I was playing that I didn’t want another surgery. A couple years ago [I] found out that there was a nonsurgical treatment and turned out it’s been great last couple of years.”
Elway Discusses Broncos’ Injuries
The injury bug has bit down on the Broncos this summer, claiming their starting fullback (Andy Janovich) and inside linebacker (Todd Davis), rookie tight end (Noah Fant) and quarterback (Drew Lock), and several other key reserve or depth-types. Elway, who’s no stranger to these precarious situations, affirmed its effect on the 53-man regular season roster, which he’ll finalize Aug. 31.
“It makes it more difficult,” he said on Aug. 17. “Depending on how many guys we carry on the 53 and where they are and how they’re proceeding as we go forward. Knock on wood, I’d like it to be our last injury, but I doubt it going to be our last injury. Those are thing we’ll have to deal with when we get to the cut.”
And Speaking of the Rookies …
Holding an end-of-training-camp press conference, Elway was asked about the progress of his two top draft picks: Fant (No. 20 overall) and Lock (No. 42). In short, Denver’s longtime czar believes both are right on schedule, their development likely to spill over into 2020 and beyond — particularly for the latter rookie.
“He continues to get better,” Elway said of Lock. “He’s been overloaded. Anytime you have young guy like that, he’s going to have his good days and he is going to have his bad days. Obviously, we’re excited still about the talent that he has and what he has showed. He is flashed a lot, but it’s a big jump for him, especially with what we are doing offensively and the verbiage that goes along with it. It’s going to take him some time, but he’s done a nice job.”
“He’s been good,” he said of Fant. “Obviously, he’s what we thought he would be. The thing that we are really excited about is the fact that he’s a better blocker. He’s physical and he still can get better there, but very physical, sticks his nose in there and very strong. I think that he can be a guy that can be a ‘Y,’ be a great down field threat, but also be able to block and do a good job in the blocking game and in the running game too. We’re excited about Noah.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL