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The Broncos defense is finally beginning to return to

full health.

Denver's secondary got a boost Wednesday when cornerback Chris Harris (shoulder) and safety Darian Stewart (hamstring) returned to practice for the first time since suffering their injuries Jan. 3 against San Diego.

"It's nice to get everybody back on the field," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We've come a long way."

Kubiak said if Harris and Stewart stay the course, he expects both to play Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler did not practice, instead he worked with a trainer on the sidelines. Kubiak said that the thought of suiting three quarterbacks by adding Trevor Siemian on gameday has entered his mind if Osweiler doesn't improve by Sunday.

"He's still sore," Kubiak said of Osweiler. "Tomorrow, I expect him to get back to work."

Kubiak said quarterback Peyton Manning has looked as strong as he did early in the season. Manning could be the healthier of the two quarterbacks Sunday with Ben Roethlisberger nursing a shoulder injury.

The Broncos' starting quarterback missed six games with plantar fasciitis and returned to action on Jan. 3 against San Diego in relief of Osweiler.

"Obviously I needed that time in order to get healthy," Manning said. "At the same time, other parts of your body take advantage of that. Not getting hit and not getting pounded on."


Outside linebacker Von Miller was excused from practice with a sickness. Kubiak said there was a little bit of a bug going around the locker room. Guard Robert Mathis did not practice with an illness and defensive end Malik Jackson also left practice early because of sickness, too.

"We'll have to keep an eye on it the next couple of days," Kubiak said.

Cameron Wolfe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @CameronWolfe

Denver Broncos quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.
Denver Broncos quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler during practice at the UC Health Training Center on Jan. 13, 2016. (Steve Nehf, The Denver Post)

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