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Tuesday, September 2, 2008
AFC West injury update

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

There are several players in the AFC West who enter week one unsure they will be ready to play because of injury.

Here are a few situations to monitor this week:

Denver Broncos

Injured player: Center Tom Nalen, knee.

Outlook: At this point it doesn't look like Nalen is going to play against Oakland on Monday night. He still may be a few weeks away.

Replacement: Casey Wiegmann


Kansas City Chiefs

Injured player: Left tackle Branden Albert, foot.

Outlook: Albert missed the entire preseason and is just getting back on the practice field. It may be a lot to ask of him to get his first NFL action after taking a month off because of an injury. But Kansas City coach Herman Edwards said this weekend that Albert could possibly play.

Replacement: Herb Taylor


San Diego Chargers

Injured player: Tight end Antonio Gates.

Outlook: Gates is recovering from a surgically repaired big toe on his left foot. He hasn't played in preseason and he is practicing on a limited basis. Gates maintains he will play Sunday against Carolina, but he's not sure how the toe will react to game action.

Replacement: Brandon Manumaleuna

Injured player: Center Nick Hardwick, foot.

Outlook: He had off-season foot surgery and didn't play in the preseason. Some close to the situation said Hardwick is making good progress but may not be ready to play against the Panthers on Sunday.

Replacement: Jeremy Newberry

Injured player: Left tackle Marcus McNeill, neck.

Outlook: The team doesn't think McNeill will play this week, but he should be back soon.

Replacement: L.J. Shelton.