Chiefs QB Smith will sit out with lacerated spleen

Alex Smith thought he had some indigestion. It turned out to be a lacerated spleen.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Alex Smith thought he had some indigestion. It turned out to be a lacerated spleen.

Now, the Kansas City Chiefs will put their already slim playoff hopes in the hands of career backup Chase Daniel, who will make his second-ever start Sunday against San Diego.

The Chiefs need to beat the Chargers and hope that Baltimore loses to Cleveland and Houston gets beat by Jacksonville to reach the post-season for the second straight year. San Diego needs only to defeat its longtime AFC West rival to get back to the playoffs – and now faces a second-string quarterback.

“The guys have a lot of trust in Chase,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said shortly after Friday’s practice. “Our heart goes out to Alex. It’s not something he wanted to happen. He wanted to be out there. But the guys know Chase. They’re comfortable with him.”

Daniel should be comfortable facing the Chargers, too.

Last season, the Chiefs (8-7) had already locked up their playoff seed before their regular-season finale in San Diego. Reid rested his starters and Daniel made his first NFL start, playing well in an overtime loss that allowed the Chargers to squeak into the playoffs.

Smith is expected to miss about six weeks, Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said, though his age and fitness level could shorten that timeframe. The Chiefs would need to make the playoffs and then likely advance all the way to the Super Bowl for him to return this season.

“I didn’t know what to make of it,” Smith said. “Once you start hearing how serious it is, obviously yeah, you know the implications as far as not playing – that’s the last thing you want to hear. At the same time, you’re not crazy.”

The Chiefs, who have lost four of five, have been plagued by injuries all season.

Defensive tackle Mike DeVito and linebacker Derrick Johnson were lost to torn Achilles tendons and offensive guard Jeff Allen a torn biceps in Week 1. Running backs Joe McKnight and Cyrus Gray, tight end Demetrius Harris and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins have joined them on injured reserve.

Then there’s safety Eric Berry, who was placed on the non-football injury list and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Berry is currently undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments.

Smith believes he was hurt on a hit early in the third quarter of last Sunday’s 20-12 loss at Pittsburgh. He didn’t feel any pain until after he had showered, and then it felt like cramps and pressure. He visited with the team’s medical staff but didn’t go through full testing.

“Thought it was something I ate,” said Smith, who ultimately took some antacids.

Smith practiced twice early in the week, feeling fine other than some nausea. There had been a stomach virus going around the team that kept wide receiver Dwayne Bowe from practicing all of last week, so Smith and the training staff suspected that might be the cause.

The Chiefs had off for Christmas and Smith didn’t want to leave his family, but a team doctor helped persuade him to undergo a scan, which to his surprise found a 3-centimetre laceration. There was only a bit of bleeding, though, which explained why Smith had so few symptoms.

“If you would take another shot there and the laceration would increase, then you have a medical emergency,” Burkholder said. “This is a 1-in-100 find for our doctors because he didn’t have any signs of a spleen (injury).”

Burkholder said scans also revealed a slight enlargement of the spleen, and Smith will have more testing to determine why that’s the case.

Burkholder said it may just be natural.

“It’s a non-surgical case. It will heal on its own, but he is going to have to have some time down from contacts and collisions,” Burkholder said. “I won’t go as far as to say that we saved a life, but you saved something that could go on Sunday.”

Daniel, who starred nearby at Missouri, was acquired by the Chiefs last season. He’s appeared in only seven games since, mostly in mop-up duty, but was 21 of 30 for 200 yards with a TD pass and no interceptions in that 27-24 loss to San Diego last year.

“We have a sharp game plan this week. We’re excited about it,” Daniel said after Friday’s workout, “and it was great to get out here and go over the entire game plan.”

Just Posted

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Manslaughter charge laid against Red Deer man more than a year after homicide

A manslaughter charge has been laid against a Red Deer man, more… Continue reading

Woman facing charges after pedestrian critically injured in hit and run

A woman is in custody in connection with an alleged hit and… Continue reading

Friday hail storm came at a bad time for farmers

Amount of damage a hail storm does often depends on how far along crops are

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

Adam Henrique signs $29.1M, 5-year extension with Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Centre Adam Henrique has signed a $29.1 million, five-year… Continue reading

Fashion firms upend design routine to focus on speed, trends

NEW YORK — Prototypes? Passe. Fashion company Betabrand saw that knitwear was… Continue reading

Trimming and tidying: Perennials need care too

The great attraction in growing perennial flowers is that you never have… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month