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Cassel has a week to adjust to rib injury

9/4/2011

The Kansas City Star is reporting that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel injured his rib Thursday night while playing the Green Bay Packers in the preseason finale at Lambeau Field, and that he may not play next Sunday in the season opener against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

The newspaper wrote that Kansas City coach Todd Haley informed backup quarterback Tyler Palko that he should be ready to play against the Bills. Palko, 28, has never started an NFL game and the left-hander has thrown just six passes in the regular season. He played well at times during the preseason this summer, but he had trouble holding onto the ball and he threw two interceptions in 29 pass attempts at Green Bay.

Cassel’s availability will likely be determined on how the rib heals and if he would feel comfortable playing. This could be a two to three week injury because the injury affects the ability to breathe comfortably. Cassel will likely be fitted with a protective device and I’d suspect he’ll, at least, try to play if the injury isn’t too severe. Still, the Chiefs will want him to practice at least some this week if he is going to play.

This is very much a developing story and it will be monitored daily. I think it’s way too early to conclude whether Cassel can play.

In the meantime, all focus will be on the disastrous trip to Green Bay. Standout second-year tight end Tony Moeaki suffered a knee injury and was lost for the season in the game. Cassel left the game after being pounded by Green Bay’s 340-pound nose tackle Howard Green. The Chiefs and Cassel said after the game he was not hurt.

Both Cassel and Moeaki were injured in the second quarter. The Chiefs took a very cautious approach to training camp and the preseason until the fourth game. Traditionally, starters play a series or two if at all.

Now, the focus is on Cassel’s ribs and Haley will surely have to reconsider playing his starters deep into the preseason finale in the future.