Practice Soothes Pain … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

When Matt Cassel woke up last Wednesday morning he had a pain in his side.

He’d noticed some discomfort the night before when he was at the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Mercy Hospital with his charity Shadow Buddies. As the night wore on and he returned home and hit the sack, the pain increased.

Now, an NFL quarterback who had played a game just two days before is going to have a lot of pains that show up during the days afterwards. But this was different and it was still there when Cassel drove into the team’s facility early Wednesday morning to start his day.

“I came in and told D.P (Dave Price) our trainer and he was able to contact the doctor,” Cassel said. “They did a quick examination and they said we needed to go in because they thought it was appendicitis. They did all the tests and stuff and decided they had to take it out.”

And thus began a painful and difficult week for the Chiefs quarterback. One that really didn’t end until late Wednesday morning when he was with his team and taking part in the first practice of the week in preparation for the trip to St. Louis and Sunday’s game against the Rams.

“I think it is a pretty useless organ from what they tell me,” Cassel said. “I don’t know if it has much purpose, but I feel like a new man with it out of there.”

The first question Cassel got from the media on Wednesday was whether he was going to be able to play against the Rams.

“I think right now we are day-to-day,” said Cassel. “The medical staff, the trainers and the coaches will discuss it and we will proceed with caution and see where I am at.”

Head coach Todd Haley said much the same thing.

“It’s truly going to be a day-to-day thing with him,” said Haley. “That’s not on any kind of level of secrecy, it’s just I don’t think we’ll know. We’ve got to just see how he responds each and every day.”

There are various factors that will be involved in the decision, but the biggest will be how Cassel comes through practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“There are a number of different issues that come with a procedure like this,” said Cassel. “I think if I can go out there and I can do everything that I want to do without any discomfort, without any pain, then I’m going to go out and play.”

Pain is really the culprit here. Although his appendix was removed laprascopically, that doesn’t change the fact that something was inserted into his torso. While the procedure is less invasive, the body always reacts to an intruder.

So Cassel is sore and the more he moves his upper body around, the less opportunity there is for that pain to dissipate. That’s why the most important moments on his potential comeback will come Thursday and Friday mornings, when he wakes up and assesses the pain.

“It feels good,” Cassel said Wednesday afternoon. “It gets better each and every day and hopefully it will continue to make progress and get better as we move forward this week.”

There’s no question that Cassel was not 100 percent on Wednesday, not did anybody expect him to be fully recovered. He couldn’t put a number on where he was in the recuperation process, but said he would be honest with the doctors and trainers in providing his thoughts on pain and discomfort.

“Right now it is about how I feel and how the week progresses and also how the coaches evaluate me during the week and make the decision whether or not I can do what I have normally done and if I can make the throws and play to the best of my ability,” Cassel said.

Cassel said he took “a lot of snaps during practice” on Wednesday, but he also allowed that there were some drills where he was limited. That could be seen early in the workout when he was throwing passes. Any throw down the field was done with little snap or explosion. That will have to change during the week if he’s to play on Sunday.

Watching the game from home on Sunday was a tough day for Cassel. Just like all Chiefs fans, he was frustrated, although for different reasons.

“Being a competitor you always want to be out there so it is always a difficult situation when you are not able to do it because of medical reasons,” Cassel said. “I want to be back as soon as possible and playing. Someone once told me, which I agree, you never want to see someone else doing your job and the mentality as always is to get back as soon as I can.”


There are now 17 teams in the league that have replaced their starting quarterback at some point because of injury or performance. The Chiefs and Vikings joined the group last weekend with Matt Cassel’s appendectomy and Brett Favre’s shoulder.

It’s not an easy thing to step in and replace a starter, whether the guy has been there many years or only a handful of seasons. So far there have been 10 starting QBs that went down due to injury that were replaced in situations like that involving Brodie Croyle in last Sunday’s game in San Diego.

With the exception of Philadelphia’s Michael Vick stepping in for the injured season opening starter Kevin Kolb, the replacements struggled stepping into the huddle. Only two of the 10 saw their team win: Vick and Todd Collins with the Bears. Now that victory for Chicago had nothing to do with Collins – he threw four interceptions that day and just 32 yards.

The other eight replacements lost their starts. In some games, the point differential was small, in others large. Those eight teams ended up losing by an average of 18 points per game. The 10 replacement quarterbacks averaged performances that were 17 of 32 for 194 yards. There were a total of nine TD passes and 17 interceptions.

Here’s how the performances broke down:

 Team  Starter  Replacement  Date  Opp.  Outcome Stats of note
by replacement
Detroit MattStafford ShaunHill 9/19 PHL L 35-32 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Philadelphia KevinKolb MikeVick 9/19 DET W 35-21 108 passer rating
Cleveland JakeDelhomme SenecaWallace 9/19 KC L 16-14 1 TD, 1 INT
Carolina MattMoore JimmyClausen 9/26 CIN L 33-16 53.6 passer rating
Chicago JayCutler ToddCollins 10/10 CAR W 23-6 4 INTs
Jacksonville DavidGarrard ToddBouman 10/24 KC L 42-20 2 TD, 2 INTs
Dallas TonyRomo JonKitna 10/31 JAX L 35-17 4 INTs
Seattle MattHasselbeck CharlieWhitehurst 11/7 NYG L 41-7 2 INTs
Chiefs MattCassel BrodieCroyle 12/12 SD L 31-0 48.9 passer rating
Minnesota BrettFavre TarvarisJackson 12/13 NYG L 21-3 46.2 passer rating


  • NFL – fined Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer $12,500 for a blow to the head of Eagles QB Mike Vick last Sunday night; fined Titans WR Kenny Britt $5,000 for wearing a towel in last Sunday’s game supporting teammate QB Vince Young.
  • AFC – named Colts QB Peyton Manning offensive player of the year; Steelers S Troy Polamalu defensive player of the year; Ravens returner David Reed special teams player of the year.
  • NFC – named Eagles WR DeSean Jackson offensive player of the week; Saints CB Malcolm Jenkins defensive player of the week; Cardinals K Jay Feely special teams player of the week.
  • BENGALS – signed DB Keiwan Ratliff, last in UFL.
  • COWBOYS – placed WR Kevin Ogletree on the injured-reserve list (toe) ending his season; signed WR Manuel Johnson off their practice squad.
  • GIANTS – re-signed DE Alex Hall.
  • JETS – released WR Patrick Turner.
  • LIONS – placed RT Gosder Cherilus on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season.
  • PATRIOTS – placed CB Jonathan Wilhite on the injured-reserve list (hip) ending his season.
  • TEXANS – placed DE Mario Williams (sports hernia), WR David Anderson (shoulder) and G Mike Brisiel (calf) on the injured-reserve list ending their seasons; signed DL Jarvis Green and WR Derrick Townsel.
  • TITANS – placed DT Tony Brown on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season; signed C Kevin Matthews off their practice squad.
  • VIKINGS – signed QB Patrick Ramsey, formerly with the Dolphins.

8 Responses to “Practice Soothes Pain … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 16, 2010  - Chuck says:

    It makes it easier to understand why the Eagles quickly signed Mike Vick even though Kevin Kolb is very capable doesn’t it. Even if Matt Cassel starts on sunday (which I doubt) he probably won’t be able to play much and Brodie will have to takeover. Also you know the defense won’t mind a 15 yard penalty just to get a hard shot on him. Just as well “sit him” and take our chances.

  • December 16, 2010  - RW says:

    Cassel has slowly but steadily earned my respect for his efforts during the 2010 season. It’s laudable that he wants to play this Sunday but given his recent operation and lack of sufficient healing time, I’d advise him and the team to err on the side of caution and sit him out.

    If that happens, we’re back to Croyle and another hoping for the defense and ST to carry the day. Bleak prospect for sure but at least the starting QB has another week to heal properly and get ready for the final push in wks 16 and 17.

    By the way, I’m starting to revise my Chiefs player/position off-season top 3 needs to include QB, probably through the draft.

  • December 16, 2010  - Josh says:

    If Cassel doesn’t play at least four quarters of Sunday’s game, the season is over. What would it matter if he’s good to go for the last two games if we lose Sunday? San Diego is not going to lose in the next three weeks. It’s time for Matt to step up. He’s not the only one on the planet who’s had surgery and had to return to work sooner than comfort would dictate.

    Bob, this vestigial organ sure has thrown a wrench into our bet… However, seeing as it’s December and we still have a shot at the playoffs, I’d say you’ve won the bet. I think MC (not to mention the entire team) has pleasantly surprised us this year, and for that, I happily concede the win. Email me your address or a location of your choice so that I can send you your delicious winnings.

  • December 16, 2010  - el cid says:

    Sorry, Chuck, but there are no chances if Cassel cannot play and play well. This has nothing to do with Croyle, the coaches will give up. They worked so hard with Cassel this year, they, apparently, ignorred Croyle. Haley said he could not do the job, so who do you want behind center? Palko?

    If Cassel cannot go, the season is probably over with not a win in sight (and he has to play well). Look at the SD game plan and repeat it 3 more times and we are waiting for the draft.

    It is not good or bad, just is.

  • December 16, 2010  - matt says:

    did the AFC really name the AFC players of the year already?

    Must be three typos

  • December 16, 2010  - Dan-NY says:

    Do you know whether Cassel plans to wear a flak jacket for the game? Seems extra armour over his healing underbelly would be prudent.
    Does wearing one affect the QB’s throwing motion, and if so would he be wearing one during practice as well? Can one even tell by just observation?

  • December 16, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Cassel is not the savior of the Chiefs. With or without him the remainder of the team should and will step up. Granted last weeks fiasco was an exception.

    We need to accept the fact that Brodie Croyle will be our starter in St. Louis. The Chiefs will be ready and show their stuff, regardless of who the QB is.

    I’m not guaranteeing any victory, just a well fought game by the men in Red & Gold. Whichever team plays better. Will win.
    Go Chiefs.

  • December 17, 2010  - Milkman says:

    If we have no chance without Cassel, then why even waste Clark Hunt’s money and we’ll all just stay home. That is what we had might as well do, according to one earlier post. We did manage to win a couple of games at the beginnig of the year when Cassel was not the reason. Why not now? We WILL however have to improve our defensive performance or he is right- we won’t stand a chance. I’ve watched Steven Jackson several times thai year and believe he is the main reason Sam Bradford has looked as good as he has. I’m sure Crennel has a plan to stop him. Now the players must execute. It will be interesting to see what happens Sunday. But before we start looking at mock drafts, let’s see what these guys are made of.

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