The Chiefs practiced Wednesday without three crucial starters in left tackle Branden Albert (knee), outside linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) and tight end Anthony Fasano (concussion).
Albert, the Chiefs’ left tackle, was carted off the field in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Denver. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said on Monday that Albert suffered a hyperextended knee and would be a “day-to-day situation” leading to Sunday’s game at Washington.
Reid also said Monday that Houston, an outside linebacker who missed the Denver game because of a subluxation of his right elbow, is making progress and “is going to shoot” for playing at Washington.
Fasano, a tight end who caught a touchdown pass Sunday for the third straight game, is undergoing protocol for a concussion and is “doing well,” though he hasn’t been cleared to practice yet and Reid was unsure if he’ll be ready to play against Washington.
“That’s up to the tests,” Reid said. “I don’t know how all those really work, other than they have to take the test. So we’re reliant on that. He seems to be getting better, but there are other things that go into that.”
If Fasano can’t play — he is also bothered by a knee strain — second-year pro Sean McGrath would appear to be the next man up. He started four games in Fasano’s place earlier this season when he was dealing with knee and foot injuries, and caught 13 passes for 149 yards.
Kevin Brock has served as McGrath’s backup but has since been released, leaving second-year pro Dominique Jones and rookie Demetrius Harris as the only other tight ends on the roster.
“I have a couple guys on the practice squad I like, so that would be the reason not to do something right now and just see how Anthony does as we go,” Reid said of Jones and Harris.
Reid said the two would both take reps with the offense in Wednesday’s practice.
“I think both can catch the football well,” Reid said. “One probably blocks a little bit better than the other one. That’s what it comes down to.”
Reid was probably alluding to Jones, who is listed at 6 feet 3 and 270 pounds. Harris, who is much leaner at 6 feet 7 and 230 pounds, is a former basketball player for Wisconsin-Milwaukee who the Chiefs brought in as an undrafted free agent in the spring.
Reid said Geoff Schwartz will continue to start at right guard, as he has for the last two games in place of Jon Asamoah. Asamoah has been dealing with a shoulder injury but the Chiefs have had two of their best rushing games of the year the past few weeks.
“He’s jumped in and actually done very well,” Reid said of Schwartz. “I know Jon’s shoulder is still a bit tender, although it’s making progress to where he can function and play. But right now, Schwartz is going to be starting.”
Reid also confirmed that second-year pro Donald Stephenson, who has also started the last two games (he started at right tackle Sunday and moved over to left tackle when Albert got hurt) will continue to serve as Albert’s backup.
That means rookie Eric Fisher, who the Chiefs picked No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, will continue to work on the right side this season, despite the fact he has experience as a left tackle in college and it is regarded as the tougher position to play between the two.
“Stephenson has had more work at the left side, and Fisher has had all of his work at the right side,” Reid said.
Charles fourth in Pro Bowl voting
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is the fourth-leading vote-getter in the balloting for the 2014 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Wednesday.
Charles’ 636,575 votes trail only Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s 926,432, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees’ 793,685 and Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch’s 636,575.
Charles was third in the balloting two weeks ago, when he was also the leading vote-getter at his position before he was surpassed by Lynch. But defensive tackle Dontari Poe (233,212), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (233,738), tackle Branden Albert (165,268) and punter Dustin Colquitt (122,908) are all the leading vote-getters at their positions. Guard Jeff Allen (134,076) and safety Eric Berry (116,218) have received the second-most at theirs.
Balloting will conclude Dec. 26, and the Pro Bowl players will be announced Dec. 27. The 2014 Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 26 in Honolulu.
The players will be determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players who will be eligible for the Pro Bowl Draft.
Instead of the traditional AFC vs. NFC matchup that has existed since 1971, players will be selected without regard to conference.
Bills sign Moeaki
Former Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki, who hasn’t played since breaking his shoulder in a preseason game Aug. 23, signed with Buffalo on Wednesday. Moeaki was released by the Chiefs in October after reaching an injury settlement.
Safety Kendrick Lewis (knee) and defensive end Mike DeVito (knee) practiced on a limited basis for the Chiefs on Wednesday. Guard Jeff Allen (knee/groin), guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder), receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle), center Rodney Hudson (elbow), receiver A.J. Jenkins (hand), defensive back Ron Parker (shoulder) and guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz (bicep) were all full participants.
Receiver Dexter McCluster was excused from practice due to the birth of his daughter.
For Washington, safety Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), safety Brandon Meriweather (chest), tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) and offensive tackle Trent Williams (foot) did not practice. Linebacker London Fletcher (ankle), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (hip, back) and running back Darrel Young (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis. Tight end Niles Paul (illness) was listed a a full participant.
The Star’s Randy Covitz contributed to this report.