ENGLEWOOD – Broncos cornerback De’Vante Bausby says he was paralyzed for half an hour Sunday after wrenching his neck in the second quarter of Denver’s 20-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“After 30 minutes I could wiggle my toes. After two hours, I could move everything else,” Bausby said Tuesday, hours before being placed on injured reserve.
Bausby collided with linebacker Alexander Johnson while tackling running back Austin Ekeler and crumpled to the grass. He said he never lost consciousness as he was strapped to a backboard, taken off the field on a cart and transported to a Los Angeles trauma center where he was diagnosed with a cervical sprain.
Bausby said he never panicked that he’d be permanently paralyzed because his neurologist reassured him that he’d regain movement.
“I was just calm and I just trusted what our doc was saying,” said Bausby, who was able to walk out of the hospital and rejoin his teammates following their win.
“I was ready to get up out of Los Angeles,” Bausby said. “I was happy to rejoin my team on a plane ride back here.”
Bausby was walking gingerly 48 hours after injuring his neck.
“I’m good. I’m just moving slow. I’m just kind of weak,” he said. “Once I’m able to, just strengthen up my muscles and I’ll be good to go.”
Bausby’s injury was reminiscent of one former Broncos linebacker Zaire Anderson sustained on Jan. 1, 2017, against Oakland when he dived while covering a punt and jammed his neck on a teammate’s hip. Knocked unconscious, Anderson didn’t regain feeling until he was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Bausby was making his second start Sunday in place of injured free agent Bryce Callahan (foot) and nose tackle Mike Purcell replaced Adam Gotsis, giving the Broncos two starters who played in the ill-fated Alliance of American Football last spring.
Isaac Yiadom replaced Bausby but he was benched for Davontae Harris after giving up a 15-yard catch and committing two holding penalties on the next series.
Coach Vic Fangio said Bausby won’t need any medical procedures but is out indefinitely as the team’s medical staff monitors his recovery.
Bausby is hoping to play again this season, although it’s unlikely with the Broncos already having rookie QB Drew Lock, RB Theo Riddick and others on IR. Only two can be reinstated to the roster.
The Broncos signed eighth-year pro Cody Sensabaugh to take Bausby’s roster spot. Sensabaugh has played for the Titans, Rams, Giants and Steelers.
“We’re just going to take it real slow and just gain my strength back,” Bausby said. “So, I don’t really have a timetable, but hopefully pretty soon. My plan is to come back and play.”