Chiefs QB Green cleared to play, may start Sunday
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More than two months after he was knocked unconscious in Kansas City's season opener, quarterback Trent Green was given medical clearance to play again.
The Chiefs said late Tuesday the two-time Pro Bowl selection was given the go-ahead by doctors earlier in the day.
Whether he or Damon Huard will start on Sunday against Oakland remains unclear, however. Coach Herm Edwards said earlier in the day that whatever decision he made would remain a secret until game time.
"We're very pleased to report that we received information this evening that Trent Green has been cleared to begin full practice with the team starting Wednesday," Chiefs President Carl Peterson said.
Debate has been raging among fans and media for more than a month as Huard continued to play exceptionally well in Green's absence, going 5-3 as the starter and keeping the Chiefs in the playoff hunt.
Should Green, rusty after being out of action for 10 weeks, get his job back?
Or should the Chiefs stick with Huard, who stepped in on Sept. 10 when Green was knocked unconscious with a severe concussion and has played much better than anyone expected?
"First of all, he's got to be cleared, he's got to practice and then I've got to make a decision," Edwards said. "And I'll make the right decision for the football team. I won't have to announce it. And I won't. Come Sunday and find out. Why would I let the Raiders know what I'm going to do? That's not very smart."
Green, who had more yards passing the past five seasons than any other quarterback except Peyton Manning, has been working his way back slowly and carefully since getting knocked out in the third quarter of the Sept. 10 season opener.
The first few weeks he didn't even drive a car. But the past two weeks he has suited up and been on the sideline.
Now the Chiefs (5-4) trail Denver and San Diego by two games in the AFC West and are probably competing for a wild-card playoff spot. They face two key division games in the next eight days, hosting Oakland on Sunday and the Broncos four days later on Thanksgiving.
Huard has thrown 11 touchdown passes and only one interception, connecting on 146 of 241 passes for 1,824 yards. His 97.6 rating is third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL. But Green is the acknowledged leader of the Chiefs and one of the most accurate medium-range passers in the league.
Whoever lines up under center against the Raiders will be confronting one of the bleakest situations the Kansas City offense has found itself in years. Out for the second week in a row will be Pro Bowl left guard Brian Waters and starting right tackle Kevin Sampson. Behind this patchwork line, Huard was hurried and harried all day by an aggressive Rams defense.
And gone too, in all probability, will be Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Chiefs' leading pass receiver, Gonzalez sprained his left shoulder on one of the final plays of last week's 13-10 loss at Miami and may be gone for at least two or three games.
Edwards said on Monday that Gonzalez would definitely be out this week, but said Tuesday he would be listed as "doubtful."
So might he play?
"Oh, maybe. But he's doubtful," Edwards said. "Last night he said he wanted to be the third tight end. Said he wanted to be the third-down tight end. That's Tony, though. Right now he's doubtful. It's a pain-tolerance deal and something he has to get some rest on it. And we'll see as the week goes on where he's at."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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