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Chiefs hoping injured players are able to make early returns

September 2, 2012

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— The banged-up Kansas City Chiefs are in wait-and-see mode with several injured players heading into their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.

Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Saturday that cornerback Brandon Flowers, defensive tackle Anthony Toribio, linebacker Derrick Johnson, backup quarterback Brady Quinn and safety Kendrick Lewis all making progress, but their availability for Week 1 is uncertain.

Johnson is the most likely to play after hurting his ankle in the Chiefs’ preseason finale Thursday night at Green Bay. The injury to the Pro Bowl linebacker was thought to be serious, but Crennel said that Johnson is a “good healer, so we expect he’ll be ready to go.”

Toribio is out of a walking boot after hurting his ankle, but Crennel didn’t say whether he’d be able to play against the Falcons. The same was true of Flowers, the Chiefs’ top cornerback, who has been dealing with a stubborn heal injury that’s kept him out of practice since July 31.

“Flowers has tried to do something the last couple of days and hopefully with this time off and this rest he’ll be feeling better and do more things,” Crennel said.

Quinn has a neck strain that he sustained against the Packers, and while Crennel said that his No. 2 quarterback was feeling better, the coach had yet to see him do any activity.

The biggest longshot to see the field next Sunday is Lewis, who hurt his right shoulder during a preseason game against St. Louis. Lewis had his arm in a sling in the days afterward, and only recently did he start doing range-of-motion work.

“He’s progressing,” Crennel said, “but I don’t think he’s going to be ready.”

Also on Saturday, the Chiefs signed eight players to their practice squad, including wide receiver Junior Hemingway and defensive lineman Jerome Long, their seventh-round draft picks. Both of them were waived the previous day, when Kansas City trimmed its roster.

The Chiefs technically have 54 players under contract because Tamba Hali, suspended for the opener, does not count against the roster limit. The Pro Bowl linebacker will be eligible Week 2 after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

The other players signed to the practice squad were wide receivers Jamar Newsome and Josh Bellamy, offensive linemen Lucas Patterson and David Mims, fullback Patrick DiMarco and defensive back Neiko Thorpe.

Crennel did not rule out the Chiefs making additional roster moves this week.

They’ve reportedly worked out former defensive tackle Shaun Smith, who was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans, and could take a look at a few more players who were cut loose over the weekend.

Kansas City kept five running backs while going light at several other positions.

“We got the roster down to the required number, and it’s always tough to move on from guys, particularly this last cut, but you have to do what you have to do, and then you have to move forward,” Crennel said. “We’re excited about the guys we have on the team.”

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