Chiefs lose starting center Hudson
09/26/2012 6:07 PM
09/26/2012 6:08 PM
The Chiefs received more injury information Wednesday and, as they have come to expect, it was news they wish they didn’t have to hear. This time, it was a broken leg for starting center Rodney Hudson, who is finished for the season.
Hudson will become the fifth Chiefs regular to miss at least one game on Sunday when the Chiefs play against the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. He could be joined by running back Peyton Hillis and wide receiver Dexter McCluster, who were also injured in last week’s win over New Orleans.
Coach Romeo Crennel might pause to feel sorry for himself if he wasn’t busy preparing the Chiefs for their game against San Diego.
“In this job there are going to be three things you don’t expect to happen every day,’’ Crennel said. “Not just every week but every day. You have to deal with it. Having had the experience before, you understand things are going to happen that really are out of your control.’’
The Chiefs signed two offensive linemen, Bryan Mattison and Russ Hochstein. Mattison can play both guard and center. He played in 15 games over the past two seasons with the Rams and Ravens. He started four games for St. Louis last year.
Hochstein has played 11 years at guard, mostly as a backup, with Tampa Bay, New England and Denver. He was a backup in 15 games for Denver last season and hasn’t started a game since 2010.
For the time being, at least, both players are backups. The Chiefs instead will go with an offensive line that includes Ryan Lilja at center and rookie Jeff Allen at left guard.
The Chiefs were encouraged by that arrangement in the win over the Saints.
“Ryan Lilja was to me a hero of the game,’’ quarterback Matt Cassel said. “He’s a guy that has never (played center) in a real game. But for him to step in like he did and for us not to miss a beat and for us to not have a bad snap during the game, that was huge.
“I’m not going to lie. I was pretty scared. You take so many snaps and you get a comfort level with somebody. Once you get into a game, you never know how it’s going to go. But Ryan did a great job.’’
Lilja said his preference was to remain at guard, the position he played when he joined the Chiefs in 2004 as a rookie free agent from Kansas State. But he was their best option once Hudson left their lineup.
“I was comfortable at my position,’’ he said. “But on the offensive line you have to be able to play more than one position. It’s too bad about Rodney but it happens all the time so you’ve got to be ready.
“It’s a change for me. When you play a position for a long time, there are things you don’t have to think about anymore. There are things that are second nature. I’ve got to think about those things now. So I’m running through things in my head a little bit more than I would at guard.’’
The Chiefs had the option of apply the new injured-reserve list rule to Hudson. Each team can place one injured player on the reserve list and bring him back to the active roster later in the season.
They declined that option with Hudson, so he can’t play the rest of the season.
“It does not require surgery,’’ Crennel said. “He’s got to be off of it for several weeks and then has several weeks on crutches. It’s going to be most of the season and that’s why he’s not going to be able to come back.
“By the time he gets back, the season is going to be over. I don’t know that we want to use that on him.’’
Hudson was the Chiefs’ second-round draft pick last year and was in his first season as the starter.
Hillis (ankle) and wide receiver Dexter McCluster (elbow) were also injured against the Saints. Hillis’ ankle remained in a boot Wednesday and he did not practice.
McCluster, who injured his elbow trying to break his fall after catching a pass, was able to practice on a limited basis. He was able to run routes and catch passes during individual drills but didn’t practice during the team portion because the Chiefs wanted him to avoid contact.
“I think the guy shows a lot of toughness by wanting to be out there and wanting to try to help his team win,’’ Crennel said. “He wants to play on Sunday if he can. That’s a good sign. What happens is you get guys who do that, who show that desire, and then it affects other guys.’’
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