Chris Harris Jr. will miss the rest of the Denver Broncos’ playoff run after the cornerback tore a knee ligament against the San Diego Chargers two days ago.
Harris will require surgery and six months of rehabilitation on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ruling him out of the visit by New England on Jan. 19 and the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 should the Broncos defeat the Patriots.
Harris, 24, left midway through the third quarter of Denver’s 24-17 home win against the Chargers. In his third National Football League season, the cornerback had 65 tackles, three interceptions and 15 pass breakups, all career highs.
“He’s one of our better performers on defense throughout this season,” Denver coach John Fox told reporters yesterday. “We’ve lost some pretty good performers throughout the season and this team’s been resilient.”
The Broncos led 17-0 when Harris left the field. His replacement, 12-year NFL veteran Quentin Jammer, gave up a 30-yard completion on a third-and-four play at the start of the fourth quarter. The Chargers scored a touchdown four plays later to trail 17-7.
On San Diego’s next drive, Jammer allowed a 49-yard reception by Keenan Allen on a fourth-and-five play. Three plays later, Allen scored to make it 24-14.
Fox declined to say if Jammer, 34, would start in place of Harris against the Patriots in the American Football Conference title game. The coach’s other options at cornerback are Champ Bailey, Tony Carter, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Kayvon Webster, while safety Omar Bolden was selected in the 2012 draft as a cornerback.
Since November, the Broncos have lost five defensive starters. Linebacker Von Miller tore an ACL in a 37-13 win against the Houston Texans on Dec. 22, while Rahim Moore, Kevin Vickerson and Derek Wolfe are also injured.