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Kansas City Chiefs: Tamba Hali “Plans to Play” vs. The Denver Broncos on Sunday

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The worst-case scenario played out for the Kansas City Chiefs last week against the San Diego Chargers, as the team not only took its second-straight loss of the season but had two of its best players exit the game early with what looked to be serious injuries.

Outside linebackers Tamba Hali (lower leg that ended up being a sprained ankle) and Justin Houston (elbow) -- who have combined for 20 sacks on the season -- left the game in the first half with the Chiefs leading the Chargers 14-3. San Diego would eventually go on to win the game 41-38, making the most of a depleted Kansas City pass rush.

Both Hali and Houston know how much they mean to the Chiefs this season.

"Justin and I were in the training room, just watching the game…We could tell that we were needed in the game with our experience and how much we're hungry to get to the quarterback and just knowing what to do out there…Our offense played well and those are the types of games you like to be in, because when they put us up like that we can just pin our ears back.''

While Houston's prognosis is still uncertain (MRI scheduled for Wednesday), head coach Andy Reid is optimistic that Hali will be ready to go on Sunday against Manning and the Broncos.

"Every day he has made progress…That he went through the walkthrough (today), I thought was a big step. He's gonna tell me he's gonna play … we've gotta make sure that (it's) safe (for him) to be out there. We're not gonna put him in a position where he furthers the injury."

Hali has not practiced all week, and probably will not do much prior to the game. But having this quick of a turnaround with an injury that seemed destined to knock him out for at least a game or two is encouraging.

"(It's) just being honest with my body and myself…If I can play, I can play. If I can't play, I'm not gonna force it. And I'm feeling real optimistic about being out there."

Not having either Hali or Houston to get after Manning on Sunday would have made an uphill climb for the Chiefs even more daunting. But knowing that No. 91 is likely to be out there means that Kansas City's chances of competing just got a lot stronger.

Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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