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Kansas City’s coach was hobbling around on crutches after having fluid drained from his left knee. Crennel said it’s been bothering him ”off and on” all season, and it barked enough Wednesday night that he visited a doctor, who drained a significant amount of fluid.

Crennel said he plans to coach from the sideline as usual on Sunday at Denver. If the knee is still bothering him, he’ll move up to the press box.

Running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Tamba Hali were back in the building after missing practice Wednesday due to illness. Others who have missed practice this week include center Ryan Lilja, defensive end Tyson Jackson, left tackles Donald Stephenson and Branden Albert, tight end Tony Moeaki and wide receiver Terrance Copper.

He said he’ll be sitting at practice on Thursday. When asked if he’ll be on crutches for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, Crennel said he hopes not.

“I hope not. I hope not,” he said, “and if I need those I’ll probably be in the box.”

He later added that critical decisions can still be made from the box, but he’s always preferred being on the field.

“Some people like to go upstairs and call the game or look at the game because they feel like they can see more than they can on the sideline, but I’ve always been a sideline guy myself.”

That means Sunday could be it for Cassel in Kansas City.

“Because of the nature of the game, it very well could be,” Cassel said. “But it can’t affect how I prepare for the game (Sunday). I’ll just have to deal whatever comes at me in the off-season.

“Hopefully I am back next season. Then again, you never know in this business.”

The Chiefs, who likely will get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, seem poised to spend a high pick on a quarterback, making it perhaps ever more unlikely that Cassel will return.

“We’re grieving for all involved,” Crennel said. “It’s tough when circumstances happen. You can’t undo them so you have to rely on each other, rely on your family, your friends and rely on your faith. And that’s what the team tried to do today.

“As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best thing for us to do because that’s what we do. We are football players and football coaches, and we play and coach on Sunday. That’s why I wanted to play the game. After talking with the captains, they also felt like it was best that we play. If for no other reason, it takes our mind off our misery for a few hours. That’s what it did.”

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