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Count Alex's Losses
08-20-2006, 04:33 AM
Guard, wearing protective boot on left foot, misses practice.

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

The preseason has so far been void of good fortune for the Chiefs. So it was precisely their luck at practice Saturday to have one Pro Bowl guard return to work while the other sat out because of a fresh injury.

Brian Waters was back for the first time since early in training camp, but Will Shields was missing. Shields, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Thursday night’s loss to the Giants in New York, wandered through the Arrowhead Stadium locker room after practice with a protective boot on his left foot.

All coach Herm Edwards could do was try laughing it off.

“That’s just the way it is right now,” Edwards said. “There’s not a lot you can do about it.”

The play of the offensive line has to be high on Edwards’ lengthy list of concerns. Larry Johnson managed just 8 yards in four carries, quarterback Trent Green was hit more than the Chiefs would like in a preseason game and they managed just 111 yards and no points.

Now Shields, an 11-time Pro Bowler, has an ailing ankle.

“I don’t know if he’s going to play this week or not,” Edwards said. “We’ll see.”

He added Shields would “absolutely” be available by the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Cincinnati at Arrowhead.

“He hasn’t missed a game in 13 years,” Waters said. “I don’t expect an ankle sprain will hold him out of any games.”

Still, it’s never wise to take anything for granted when it comes to high ankle sprains. That’s particularly true when they involve a 320-pound person who next month turns 35 and has played as much football as Shields.

For the time being, at least, the boost the Chiefs would have received by the return of Waters is being negated by the loss of Shields.

The Chiefs certainly could have used that boost. One tackle, Kyle Turley, is new to the Chiefs after missing the last two seasons with back troubles. The other, Kevin Sampson, has one career NFL start.

Waters missed almost all of training camp with a sprained foot, and now Shields is out.

Only center Casey Wiegmann hasn’t had an issue, and that lack of continuity is showing.

“Those things are not good for an offensive line,” Turley said. “But Will Shields and Brian Waters can miss preseason games and training camp and things like that and come back in and things are better.”

Waters practiced only in individual drills but could return to team work later in the week and even play Saturday night against St. Louis at Arrowhead.

Chris Bober and Jordan Black were the starting guards on Saturday.

“Some guys are inconsistent,” Edwards said, referring to the offensive line. “They’ve just got to keep playing and keep practicing. There have been some highs and some lows. There are still two games left, and they’ve got to get better.”

Despite all of the uncertainty, Waters said he believed the line could be as dominant as ever.

“I feel this offensive line will be better than last year’s,” Waters said. “Willie only played in a few games last year. Those two (tackles) we have in there now, Kevin Sampson and Kyle Turley, if we can have them for 16 games, if we can keep them healthy for 16 games, I think we’ll be a better line than we were last year.

“Jordan Black has got plenty of experience. Will Svitek got plenty of experience playing in Europe. Chris Bober is getting a bunch of experience at guard. I think we’ll be a deeper and more experienced line overall.”

Waters wasn’t the only injured player who returned to practice. One starter, defensive end Tamba Hali, and two key reserves, halfback Michael Bennett and Lenny Walls, worked in the team portion of practice.

Rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle also practiced and should be available to play against the Rams.

“It’s really in the nick of time,” Edwards said. “This is the third preseason game. This is the one where the veterans are going to play most of the game, probably into the third quarter.”

Defensive linemen Jared Allen and Jimmy Wilkerson and defensive backs Ty Law and Greg Wesley were absent from practice.

Edwards said they were excused for personal reasons and said they were due back at practice Monday after a day off today.

Mecca
08-20-2006, 07:11 AM
I know you bolded that but even if Waters thought the line was worse I doubt he'd say it, so that could be chalked up to player speak.

Tribal Warfare
08-20-2006, 07:25 AM
I laughed when I saw that bolded quote by Waters

ChiefFan31
08-20-2006, 07:48 AM
Yeah, the comments from Waters are ones of true optimism.

I sure would love to have Shields out there to at least get those guys some continuity and a much needed boost of confidence heading into the season.

BUT, we obviously need him healthy for the regular season.

cdcox
08-20-2006, 08:04 AM
I don't think Herm knows whether Shields can come back for the opener or not. High ankle sprains are one of those injuries that can really linger. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

cmh6476
08-20-2006, 12:29 PM
i believe waters