Chiefs tight end Kelce didn’t expect recovery to linger this long

09/28/2013 5:17 PM

09/28/2013 5:17 PM

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is annoyed with the injury that has derailed his rookie season, but says he still has 13 games — the length of a college season — to get it right.

“It’s frustrating but it’s a long season,” said Kelce, a third-round pick from Cincinnati.

Kelce did not practice Thursday. He has been hampered for more than a month because of what he called a microscopic stress fracture to a bone in his knee and said he didn’t think the injury would take this long to heal.

“It was one of those things were doctors told me they’ve … dealt with an injury like this before, and they said it was kind of something I had to fight through,” Kelce said. “But as the MRI showed, it was just something I couldn’t get rid of. At this point in time, it’s feeling a lot better than what it was, but I’m not quite there yet.”

Kelce said he’s been told his injury is caused by a lot of “work” and “loading” on the leg, and that it gradually became a problem. He started dealing with the injury during the preseason and has missed two of the Chiefs’ first three regular-season games, logging only one special-teams snap against Dallas in week two.

The shame of it, he said, is that he felt he was really starting to come into his own when it became a problem.

“I was starting to get really comfortable,” Kelce said. “It’s football. The more and more I get back at it, the more and more I’ll progress. But until I get out on the field, I won’t be able to show anybody.”

Kelce, however, is confident he’ll return soon.

“Oh yeah, I’ll definitely be back within the next couple weeks,” Kelce said. “It’s just whichever comes first ― the healing or the team needing me to get out there.

“We know how to treat it, you know, how to make it better and how to fix it. It shouldn’t bother me and if it does, I’m sure we’ll have guys like (Sean) McGrath and (Kevin) Brock step up.”

According to offensive coordinator Doug Pederson ― who expressed sympathy for Kelce’s situation ― McGrath and Brock did just that last week, when each were counted on to replace Kelce and starter Anthony Fasano, who is battling knee and ankle issues.

“McGrath and Brock did a nice job last week filling in for Anthony ― it’s the ‘next guy steps up’ mentality,” Pederson said. “Kevin was with us in training camp, so he’s very familiar with our offense. McGrath coming in and doing what he’s done, my hat is off to him. We just have to get Anthony healthy and back out on the field.”

More attention for Houston?

Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton expects Justin Houston to start attracting more attention from offenses after his blistering 7 1/2-sack start, but here’s the thing ― he’s not so sure it will matter.

“I think anybody that has done well at his position, whether it’s the running back or the wideout or rusher, people are going to start to do some things to try to offset what you do,” Sutton said. “One of the strengths that Justin has is that he is a really good all-around football player. He’s not a one-trick pony; he doesn’t just rush the passer. When you’re a really good football player and you can do something like he’s been doing rushing, sometimes those answers aren’t as easy to find.”

Sutton added that the presence of outside linebacker Tamba Hali also makes it difficult to devote resources toward stopping Houston.

“It’s hard to say you’re going to gang up on Justin because this guy has this other side and he’s a pretty tenacious guy,” Sutton said. “It’s hard to say ‘Hey, we’re not going to worry about 91 (Tamba Hali) over here’ because a lot of things that have come his (Justin Houston) way have been because of the relentlessness of the other people rushing the passer. That’s not to downplay what Justin has done, but there are a lot of people working here to get that done.”

Injury report

Guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee) did not practice Thursday, while cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), defensive end Mike DeVito (neck) and tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) were limited participants.

For the Giants, center David Baas (neck), tight end Adrien Robinson (foot), guard Chris Snee (hip), cornerback Corey Webster (hip), linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee), cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) and defensive end Justin Trattou (ankle) did not practice, while fullback Henry Hynoski (shoulder) was moved to injured reserve.

Offensive tackle David Diehl (thumb), linebacker Spencer Paysinger (hip) and safety Cooper Taylor (shoulder) were limited.

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