ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was alert and recovering at a Denver hospital Saturday after suffering seizure-like symptoms when the team’s bus pulled into the airport Friday afternoon for the flight to Kansas City.
Wolfe won’t play in Sunday’s showdown against the Chiefs.
Team doctors began treating Wolfe on the bus, then summoned an ambulance to take him to a hospital, where the second-year pro from the University of Cincinnati underwent a battery of tests Friday night and Saturday.
It was determined that Wolfe didn’t suffer a stroke or a full-blown seizure, but the Broncos didn’t specify the exact cause of his symptoms, saying only that he was doing better Saturday evening and that he was alert and communicating with others
It’s not known when Wolfe will be released from the hospital or when he’ll be cleared to resume football.
He was fine at Friday’s practice and in the locker room afterward. It was only when the bus was pulling into the airport about 90 minutes later that he fell mysteriously ill.
One of the Broncos’ athletic trainers stayed behind with him in Denver.
Wolfe is the second Broncos defensive starter who has needed emergency medical attention in the last two weeks.
On Nov. 18, safety Rahim Moore underwent surgery to staunch bleeding in the muscle sheath in his lower left leg, a condition known as lateral compartment syndrome that can cost patients a limb or even their life. It announced itself the night before when he was unable to accelerate on a run by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles in the first half of Denver’s game against Kansas City.
Wolfe has had a tough second season in the NFL. He was whisked from the field in an ambulance in a preseason game at Seattle after a hit to his head and neck, the feeling to his extremities coming back after a few minutes. He then missed more than a week of practice. In September, he had a bout of food poisoning that led to problems keeping his weight up.
Another defensive starter, tackle Kevin Vickerson, went on injured reserve last week after dislocating his right hip Sunday night in Denver’s 34-31 overtime loss at New England, leaving the Broncos thin in their rotation of run-stuffers to face Charles in the rematch with their AFC West rivals.
On Nov. 4, coach John Fox underwent aortic valve replacement surgery to fix a genetic defect he had hoped to put off until after the Super Bowl. Those plans changed when he fell ill on a golf course in North Carolina during the Broncos’ bye week.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has coached the team in his place, going 2-1. Fox has been cleared by his doctors to return to work on Monday, although it hasn’t been determined whether he’ll coach from the sideline or the booth when the Broncos host Tennessee on Dec. 8.