Bruised Broncos making progress

Updated: October 3, 2003, 8:35 PM ET

DENVER -- Denver Broncos center Tom Nalen appeared to make progress with his sprained right ankle Friday, taking a number of snaps in practice after missing the previous two workouts.

"He's still a little bit sore," coach Mike Shanahan said. "He's favoring it. But it was nice to see him get out there. So we'll just keep our fingers crossed."

Nalen remained listed as questionable on the Broncos' injury report, along with safety Kenoy Kennedy and running back Clinton Portis, for Sunday's game at Kansas City.

Portis, however, tested his bruised chest in contact drills Thursday and pronounced himself ready to play. On Friday, he showed no ill effects from the workout the day before.

Portis, injured in the second game of the season against San Diego, played sparingly the following week against Oakland and was held out of last week's 20-16 win over Detroit.

The Broncos downgraded defensive tackle Daryl Gardener from questionable to doubtful because of the flu.

"Daryl came in this morning and got treatment," Shanahan said. "He's got a temperature, so we sent him home."

Gardener, sidelined since having surgery on his dislocated right wrist on July 24, had hoped to play this week. He has yet to play for the Broncos after signing a seven-year, $34.8 million contract that included a $5 million signing bonus in March. He injured his wrist in a fight outside a Denver-area pancake restaurant.


^STILL PRODUCTIVE:@ Tight end Shannon Sharpe has 103 catches and 12 TDs in his career against the Chiefs, his most in each category against any foe. In his last game at Kansas City, he set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end -- 214 on 12 catches, including two TDs.

"A lot has been written that maybe I've lost a step," the 14-year veteran said. "But I know I can play this game with any tight end that's playing."


^EXTRA POINTS:@ The Broncos rank second in the AFC in both offense (347.5) and defense (269.3). ... The Broncos are aiming to start 5-0 for the fourth time in team history. The three previous Denver teams that began 5-0 advanced to the Super Bowl, winning twice. ... Shanahan is 40-20 against the AFC West but 3-7 against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium -- the lone venue in the division in which he has a losing record. ... In his past three games, Jake Plummer has had passer ratings of 129.5, 128.5 and 116.9 and has thrown for seven touchdowns with no interceptions. In six seasons at Arizona, Plummer had a career passer rating of 69.1 with 90 TDs and 114 interceptions. ... WR Rod Smith has eight 100-yard games against Kansas City in 14 games, the most against any opponent. ... LB Al Wilson had 35 tackles in two games against the Chiefs last year. ... DE Bert Berry stands fourth in the NFL in sacks (4.5) after four games. Berry, who had 13.5 sacks in the first five seasons of his career, is vying to become the first Bronco to win an NFL sack title. ... WR Ashley Lelie is averaging 25.4 yards on nine receptions with two TDs. All of Lelie's catches have gone for at least 15 yards.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index