KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs expect to have starting free safety Kendrick Lewis back in their lineup at some point this season. Coach Romeo Crennel said Sunday that Lewis, who injured his shoulder in Saturday night’s preseason loss to the Rams in St. Louis, doesn’t need surgery and was not a candidate to go on the injured-reserve list, a move that would end his season.
But the Chiefs won’t know when Lewis can play for them until he begins his rehab.
“He’s going to be down for a little bit, probably in a sling for a couple days, and then we’ll start rehabbing and see how quickly he can come along,” Crennel said. “He has to rest that shoulder and have it immobilized for a little bit before we can start some movement exercises and see how quickly we can get him back.’’
Lewis injured the same shoulder in the season’s final game last year but Crennel said this injury was different. Lewis had surgery and rehabbed all through the off-season.
Veteran Abram Elam, signed during the offseason as a free agent, will take Lewis’ place starting in practice today. The Chiefs continue their preseason with Friday night’s game against Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium.
Elam, a six-year NFL veteran, has started for the Jets, Cleveland and Dallas.
“I’m glad we’ve got him because he’s an experienced guy,’’ Crennel said. “He has a maturity level to him. He has shown us he has been able to grasp the system and I think he will do a good job on the back end for us.’’
The Chiefs weren’t deep to begin with at safety. Their only other veteran backup, Travis Daniels, has played mostly at cornerback during his NFL career. He didn’t play against the Rams because of a groin injury.
Otherwise, the Chiefs have a large collection of young, inexperienced safeties. Even those numbers are down from the start of camp because rookie De’Quan Menzie, a fifth-round draft pick, has been moved to corner.
“That will be (Elam’s) job to lose right now,” Crennel said. “Travis Daniels is the other guy we’ve played back there some. Travis is very capable because he’s an experienced, sharp young man and he understands the system and knows all the calls. But because he’s coming off a slight injury, I don’t know when he’s going to be back full speed. I don’t think he’ll be able to go full (in practice today).”
Lewis’ injury opened an old sore for Crennel. The Chiefs lost their other starting safety, Eric Berry, for the season with an injury last year in the opener.
Asked if he was satisfied with the Chiefs’ depth at safety, Crennel said, “Not as much now, after the injury. If we had been able to stay healthy, it was a good situation. After our first couple of guys now, we’ve got young guys behind those guys.’’
Starting cornerback Brandon Flowers hasn’t played in a game or practiced in almost three weeks because of a foot injury. Crennel said he was hopeful Flowers would practice today.
“He got treatment over the weekend,’’ Crennel said. “We’ll see (today) what he looks like and what he can do.’’
Crennel also said that despite Ricky Stanzi’s miserable play against St. Louis, the Chiefs had yet to settle on a backup quarterback behind Matt Cassel. Brady Quinn is Stanzi’s competition.
“We have a week here to practice and get ready for this next game,” Crennel said. “So we’ll go through practice and see how they do and then make a decision on who’s going to be the second guy in.’’
Stanzi was sacked four times, threw an interception and lost a fumble against the Rams.
“It’s always tough to get a true evaluation with the circumstances the way they were,” Crennel said. “Some of the protection he had wasn’t as good as it could have been. But he tried to run the offense. Maybe he wasn’t as solid as he normally is but in looking at the things he did and the things he’s capable of doing . . . he was looking at the right places but there were times he wasn’t able to deliver the ball because somebody was in his face and now he pulled it down and things happened. That’s one of the reasons we need to take a good look through the course of the week and then go into this game and see what happens there.”