Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Matt Cassel takes big step toward return

By Bill Williamson

The Kansas City Star is reporting that quarterback Matt Cassel was back on the practice field Wednesday as the Chiefs prepare for a critical game at St. Louis on Sunday.

Cassel
Cassel
This is big news for Kansas City.

The fact that Cassel is on the practice field doesn’t automatically mean that he will be able to play Sunday. But it’s a good sign and it means, as of Wednesday, Cassel is recovering well from an appendectomy he had last Wednesday. It is Cassel’s first practice since having the procedure. He didn’t travel to San Diego for the Chiefs’ 31-0 loss.

It is unclear how much Cassel will practice Wednesday but even if it's just on a limited basis, it’s progress. The Chiefs surely need him under center. Kansas City is 8-5 and leads San Diego by one game in the division. If the Chiefs win their three remaining games, they will win the AFC West. If San Diego wins all of its three remaining games and if the Chiefs lose once, the Chargers will win the division.

Brodie Croyle was not good in Cassel’s place Sunday. He completed 7 of 17 passes for 40 yards. The Chiefs had just 67 total yards of offense. Croyle is 0-10 as an NFL starter.

The Chiefs will be in much better shape with Cassel as their quarterback in St. Louis. His presence at practice Wednesday is the first step toward that happening.