KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 18, 2002) -- Chiefs running back Priest Holmes is tantalizingly close to some major NFL records, but a hip injury may have ended his season.
"I would say there's a good chance it's over," coach Dick Vermeil said after talking with doctors.
Holmes is definitely out for the game against San Diego , Vermeil said. As for the regular-season finale at Oakland , Vermeil said, "I think it's doubtful."
Vermeil will not automatically place Holmes on the injured reserve list because specialists in Kansas City, New York and Florida have all agreed there is a possibility Holmes could come back this season.
"The doctor said in two days, you might feel like, 'Hey, I want to run,"' Vermeil said. "It's up to Priest. It may be six days. It may be three weeks."
The defending NFL rushing champion is just two touchdowns away from Marshall Faulk's single-season record of 26. His league-leading 2,287 yards from scrimmage this year is the fourth-best in league history and within sight of Faulk's record of 2,429.
But Vermeil doesn't want to risk further injury to Holmes by bringing him back before he's ready.
"We're just not going to fool around," Vermeil said.
Holmes left the game against Denver when he was pulled down awkwardly after a 56-yard run that boosted his rushing total for the season to a franchise-record 1,615 yards, passing Miami's Ricky Williams for the league lead.
"At least we know there's no serious damage. When he feels good, he can go again," Vermeil said. "How long that takes, we don't know. I'm certainly not going to push him. I would be very cautious."
At 7-7, the Chiefs' playoff hopes are slim and Vermeil said Holmes isn't a selfish player who would be disappointed by the missed opportunity to break the records.
"In my conversation with him ... we really didn't discuss how he felt about maybe not being able to continue to move toward NFL records," Vermeil said. "I think he has proved what he can do, to himself. I don't think he feels he has to prove it to anybody anymore."