Kansas City, Mo. — A thick brace remains attached to Brian Waters' right knee, and whenever Derrick Johnson tries to cut left and right, his ankle still stings.
Whether those two key starters will be back in time for Kansas City's AFC West showdown with Denver on Thanksgiving night remained anybody's guess.
"I'm just practicing," said Waters, the Pro Bowl left guard who has missed the last two starts. "I'm trying to see how things are feeling. We don't know for sure about Thursday. I feel better. I'm still not 100 percent. We've still got a couple of more days."
Johnson, a linebacker who is the Chiefs' surest tackler, also has been out two games while resting his ankle.
"I'm just going to take it day by day and see what happens," he said. "I'm running a little. It's the agility part, going from side to side."
The availability of starting right tackle Kevin Sampson also was in doubt Monday as everyone at Arrowhead Stadium put Sunday's Trent Green-led 17-13 victory over Oakland behind them and started getting ready for the Broncos.
With Sampson, Waters and Johnson out the last two games, the Chiefs (6-4) have gone 1-1. And what about Tony Gonzalez, the Pro Bowl tight end who was out Sunday with a sprained left shoulder?
"Ask the coaches," Gonzalez said.
After putting the Chiefs through a light workout, coach Herm Edwards sounded optimistic.
"They got through the walkthrough today. That's one step," Edwards said. "We'll see more tomorrow. I anticipate some of those guys will be back. What their status is right now, I don't know. I anticipate they're going to play, but I'll know more tomorrow on the practice field. I haven't ruled anybody out now."
Without Waters, Sampson and Gonzalez, the Chiefs were outgained in total yardage by the Raiders, who also had some key players on the sideline and came in with the NFL's least-productive offense.
"Ultimately, I'm not the person that makes that decision," Waters said. "So I'm going to see what I can do. Hopefully, it's good enough. If it's not, then I'll just have to wait."
If he does play against the Broncos (7-3), who are ahead of the Chiefs by one game in the AFC West, he would wear the brace.
"That's common around the league," he said. "A lot of offensive linemen play with a brace on.
"We've just been one of those teams that gives players options."