KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some good news for the suddenly beleaguered Chiefs defense: Although it seems likely that linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) won’t play in Sunday’s crucial rematch with Denver, it appears fellow linebacker Tamba Hali will play despite an ankle sprain.
“I plan on playing,” he said after going through Wednesday’s walk-through at the Chiefs’ practice facility.
“I’ll be ready. You can’t have doubts. If I wasn’t feeling good today, I’d probably say, ‘I don’t know about Sunday.’ But I feel it will be OK.”
Hali was walking through the Chiefs’ locker room without a noticeable limp.
“The training and medical staff have done a great job,” he said. “I’ve been running in the pool, working on the treadmill. It feels better.
“The doctors said it was an ankle sprain, first degree. It’s just a blessing to be able to come back and start doing things.”
Hali said he’s not rushing his return just because Sunday’s game is against the Broncos.
“No, if I can play, I can play,” he said. “If I can’t, I can’t. I’m not going to force it. But I feel optimistic I can be out there.”
After the injury in Sunday’s loss to San Diego, it seemed almost impossible that Hali would be ready in a week. He had to be helped off the field and then carted into the locker room.
“It wasn’t one of those caught in the play (injuries),” he said. “I got the foot stuck in the turf and then I couldn’t do anything, I was in so much pain. I wasn’t too optimistic. But a day later, I felt better.
“Now, I know I can push off it, but I haven’t tried to cut yet. But we’ve got more days ahead (to heal).”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.