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By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs are comfortable that Priest Holmes' right hip injury is not career-threatening.
But it appears to be enough to keep him from playing in Sunday's game against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium.
Holmes attended game-plan meetings along with his teammates Wednesday but otherwise gave no signs of someone preparing to play. He didn't practice and his snaps as the starting halfback were instead taken by Mike Cloud.
Holmes received treatment and still hobbled on crutches.
"I don't see any way he can play (Sunday)," said coach Dick Vermeil, who added that Holmes was unlikely to play in the Chiefs' last regular-season game on Dec. 28 at Oakland.
"If there's any question the following week, we wouldn't play him," Vermeil said. "There's a good chance (Holmes' season) is over. At this time, I won't just automatically put him on (the injured-reserve list). Later in the week, I might see that's necessary."
Vermeil was much more upbeat about the injury's long-term effects. He said the MRI showed no structural damage in the hip, including the ball socket.
"The information I have is that it's not career-threatening," Vermeil said. "It's just a matter of when he feels good enough to go again. It may be a week, it may be two, it may be four. But there is no serious damage.
"It's up to Priest. I'm certainly not going to push him. But at least we know there's no serious damage. When he feels good, he can go again. How long that is going to take, we don't know."
Vermeil compared the injury to a bruise to the knee or elbow or other joint.
"A hip is a little more alarming in that you don't get those very often," he said. "Right now there's some tissue damage and a deep bruise, nothing of a serious nature that I've been told. The MRI sent to the other experts, or so-called experts, have confirmed the same things our experts have said, that it doesn't appear serious and it's going to be a rehab period and rest. How long that period is, I don't know. I've never experienced one of these before."
If Holmes doesn't play again this season, the injury would spoil the finish of one of the best seasons ever by an NFL running back. Holmes leads the NFL in rushing, scoring, touchdowns and yards from scrimmage, which includes pass receptions.
He is two touchdowns away from tying the NFL record for touchdowns in one season.
Holmes declined an interview request Wednesday. Vermeil said his discussions with Holmes since the injury didn't cover the frustration of missing a chance to give his season a proper finish.
"I think he has proved what he can do to himself," Vermeil said. "I don't think he really feels he has to prove it to anybody else anymore. I think the thought that last year he was a one-season flash has totally been eliminated and that he has proved he is an upper-echelon football player.
"He's the kind of young man that has to please himself first and his teammates second and what everybody else thinks is nice. Everybody loves recognition. Everybody loves praise. But he doesn't thrive on it. He's not a self-promoter."
"The whole situation is disappointing to him. He knows himself what's at stake. We're just not going to fool around. I don't think he wants to risk further damage to any area that is vital to his movement skills."