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Broncos linebacker Wilson returns to practice

Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson wanted to get up off the field and trot toward the sideline under his own power. But the tingling scared him.

DENVER (Dec. 6, 2006) -- Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson wanted to get up off the field and trot toward the sideline under his own power.

But the tingling scared him. This wasn't an ordinary stinger.

"I pretty much lost feelings in my arms," Wilson said. "That was kind of the scary moment."

Three days after being carted off the field with a neck injury, though, Wilson returned to practice.

Wilson was attempting to recover a fumble by punt returner Darrent Williams when he crashed into teammate Gerard Warren in the fourth quarter of Denver's 23-20 loss to Seattle on Dec. 3. Wilson briefly sat up twice and then went back down.

Several teammates gathered around him near the Broncos sideline while the medical staff immobilized him and placed him on a stretcher. He was taken by ambulance to Sky Ridge Medical Center as a precaution.

"I remember everything," Wilson said after practice. "I wasn't knocked out or anything. It just happened so fast. I think we all know the consequences of this game when we play it."

Wilson doesn't know if he'll dress Dec. 10 against San Diego. He's listed as questionable on the injury report.

"We'll take it day by day and see how it feels," Wilson said. "Let the doctors and trainers decide what's right. I'm not scared. If I feel like I can go, I will. If I don't feel comfortable with it, I won't go."

The footage of the play will never be viewed by Wilson.

"I don't need to see it," he said. "I was a part of it. I remember it very vividly. There's no reason for me to watch."

Wilson begged the doctors to allow him to walk off the field -- he had family in attendance and didn't want them to worry -- but the medical personnel took a stance of caution, which frustrated him at the time.

"I can't say what was truly going through my mind, but it was a few bad words that I had for the doctors," Wilson said. "I told them they didn't have to do that. I was upset that I had to leave the field, especially when they put me in that ambulance. I was really upset then. I just felt like I could at least come back on the field and watch the end of the game, at least."

Now he understands a little better.

"They had to do what they had to do," Wilson said. "To see me carted off on the stretcher, it's a tough thing for everybody."

The fans chanted his name as he was carried off the field, which meant a lot to him.

"I wish it would've been from a big play or something," Wilson said with a grin.

The Broncos' defense never recovered after he was taken away by ambulance. Seattle scored on four consecutive possessions once Wilson vacated the middle linebacker spot, winning the game on a last-second 50-yard field goal by Josh Brown. The Seahawks didn't score an offensive touchdown with Wilson in the game.

"I don't have a clue (what happened)," said Wilson, who leads the team with 94 tackles. "I want to say Seattle made some plays when they had to. You could feel a little air taken out of the stadium. My thing is, regardless of who goes down, you've got to find a way to step up and make plays. We just didn't get it done."

Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer watched Wilson run some extra sprints after practice with a grin on his face. He's just happy to see him back so quick.

"We're like brothers," said Coyer, who has coached Wilson for the past seven years. "I don't want to see anyone down, but I don't want to see my brother down."

The injury hasn't rattled Wilson, though. He's not afraid of what might happen on the field.

"I know the consequences of this game," he said. "I put my life on the line every time I step out there and this is what I live for -- to play football. If something happens to me on the football field, just know that I feel good about it and I'm doing what I love to do."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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