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Montee Ball to miss the rest of the preseason after appendectomy

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The Denver Broncos will begin their preseason schedule on Thursday, in a rematch of the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. Going in to the game, they were expecting to have a new starting running back (as Knowshon Moreno joined the Miami Dolphins as a free agent). Nobody expected that running back to be Ronnie Hillman.

Montee Ball, the expected starter, had an emergency appendectomy on Monday; and while he is expected to miss the rest of the preseason, he is expected to be ready for the regular season opener.

"It didn't (rupture)," said head coach John Fox. "It was really a blessing that we caught it now.”

In the interim, the Broncos look like they will turn to Hillman. Hillman, who broke camp as the starter last season before losing his job to Moreno, saw the majority of the reps with the first team in Tuesday’s practice. C.J. Anderson also saw a few reps.

"I texted him to make sure he was all right," said Hillman. "You always want to be ready if they need you, so I'm just trying to be ready for whatever they need me to do until Montee gets back."

In his rookie season out of Wisconsin, the 23-year-old Ball rushed for 559 yards and four touchdowns, but also lost three fumbles. The 22-year-old Hillman also had trouble with ball security last season (his second), fumbling twice. In 10 games in 2013, Hillman rushed for 218 yards and one touchdown. He was inactive for the team’s Super Bowl loss. The 23-year-old Anderson made the team in 2013 as an undrafted rookie. In five games, he rushed for 38 yards.

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