royle expects to be ready Sunday; LJ at practice
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
“I feel like I’ll be ready to go,” said Croyle, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing last week’s loss to San Diego because of a sore back. “Whether they clear me, that’s another matter. Hopefully, I’ll come in (today) and tell them it feels great after a day’s worth of practice, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Larry Johnson also practiced, though only in individual drills for the first time since injuring his foot in last month’s game against Green Bay. He won’t play against the Broncos, but the Chiefs are preparing for his return sometime this season.
Kolby Smith will again be the Chiefs’ featured running back in Denver, but Johnson’s return to practice, even though he was limited to individual work, is the first indication that he will be back in 2007.
“I know he wants to play, and he’s (getting) ready to play,” Smith said. “It was great to have him back. He’s the leader of our group.”
Otherwise, the injury news was grim. The Chiefs practiced without, among others, injured left tackle Damion McIntosh (knee) and linebacker Donnie Edwards (hamstring).
They also worked without linebacker Derrick Johnson, who went to Texas after the death of his father.
The Chiefs would make no declarations about their availability for Sunday’s game, but they practiced with Keyaron Fox and Kendrell Bell as their outside linebackers and Will Svitek and rookie Herb Taylor as their offensive tackles.
They may have to line up that way against Denver, too. Fox is a career backup, Bell was benched this season, Svitek was beaten badly after replacing McIntosh last week, and Taylor is a rookie who has played only on special teams.
“This is not college football,” coach Herm Edwards said. “You have only so many players. You don’t have 100. You have only (53). Some young guys are going to have an opportunity to play. If we were playing today, our (offensive) tackles would be Will Svitek and Herb Taylor. That’s OK if that’s what we’ve got to do. It doesn’t matter. They’ve got to go play.
“That’s the way it is. They won’t feel sorry for you.”
Edwards spent most of his post-practice news conference running down the injuries and the various lineup possibilities for Sunday’s game. He quickly tired of the task.
“There’s nothing you can do,” he said. “I know one thing. Generally, after the cloud leaves, there’s a rainbow. There will be a rainbow. When that comes, I don’t know.”
Offensive tackle Kyle Turley (back) and safety Greg Wesley (head) also didn’t practice. Reserve quarterback Tyler Thigpen left practice early because of a knee injury and was scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.
Practice is supposedly held without contact, and quarterbacks wear bright yellow jerseys to signify that other players are to give them a wide berth. But, Edwards said, Thigpen “just kind of got rolled up on, just kind of tripped over a guy.”
Another offensive tackle, Chris Terry, hadn’t returned after the death of his mother last week, and it was unclear whether he would play against the Broncos.
Croyle indicated he took fewer snaps than he normally would as a precaution. Croyle took a knee in the back during the loss to Oakland two weeks ago. He finished the game, but didn’t practice last week or play against the Chargers.
“We didn’t want to go full-fledged back into it,” he said. “We wanted to kind of ease back into it.
“I’m a lot better than I was last week. At this point last week, I couldn’t bend over and pick stuff up. It still hurts. It’s going to hurt the rest of the year. It’s one of those things you play with. I really can’t make it any worse by playing.”
Croyle’s return was greeted with little cheer in the locker room. It was almost lost in the news about other injured players and in the gloom over the Chiefs’ five-game losing streak.
“It doesn’t change a thing for me,” wide receiver Eddie Kennison said. “It doesn’t matter who’s back there. The object of this thing is to try to win football games. And we obviously haven’t figured that out yet, no matter who’s playing quarterback.”
Hermnator the offense terminator is at it again with his luck at injured QB`S.