Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green may have been cleared to practice next week, but he said Saturday night his return to the playing field is hardly imminent. Green suffered a severe concussion in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"My next checkup with the neurosurgeon is in 10 days, and that's the earliest I'll get the type of clearance to really practice and maybe play," Green said in a telephone interview. "Even then, I don't know. It's hard to see it happening for at least three, four games. It's just hard to pinpoint a date at this point."
The best-case scenario is that Green will receive that clearance before the Chiefs' Nov. 5 game at St. Louis but he added, "I find it hard to believe, hey, practice four or five days and go play."
The Chiefs play the Chargers on Sunday, then Seattle, St. Louis, Miami and Oakland.
"Maybe it'll be Miami, maybe Oakland," Green said. "We'll see."
Green said he was caught off guard when Chiefs president Carl Peterson revealed Friday that the quarterback had been cleared by doctors to practice. It was Green's replacement, Damon Huard, who informed him Saturday the news had been leaked.
"I've tried to be low-key for a reason, because I don't want to be a distraction to the team," Green said. "The last thing I want is for [coach] Herm [Edwards] or Damon to deal with speculation about my return."
Green added that being cleared to practice next week is a little misleading.
"I'm cleared to do some things, like individual drills, one-on-one drills, stuff like that," Green said. "But I can't do anything where offensive and defensive linemen are involved, where somebody's pulling [to block] or where somebody might get tripped up."
Green said doctors have been cautious because he was knocked unconscious for a lengthy period when he was hit by Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers. Green has undergone numerous exams and experienced limited post-concussion symptoms.
"I haven't really had bad headaches or sensitivity to light like you hear about," he said. "I've had more dizzy-type spells, especially the first few weeks where I'd go to tie my shoes, or make a movement too quick, and I'd get real unsettled. But that cleared up a couple of weeks ago."
Green has been doing cardiovascular conditioning for three weeks, but he was allowed to start running only this past week. Whereas he had thrown the football for about 10 to 15 yards from a stationary position, he began doing some fundamental quarterback drills this week.
"It felt good to throw 50, 70, 80 balls doing 3-step, 5-step and 7-step drops," Green said. "It was good to build all that up."
Green said his greatest frustration has been getting medical clarity on his concussion.
"The doctors tell you that everyone's brain is different, so it's difficult to tell," Green said. "With an ACL tear, they can say, 'It's this long.' Some guys get concussed and they're good to go in one quarter. Everyone's brain is different, and the uncertainty ... that's what is frustrating."