<
>

Despite less swelling, Chiefs don't expect Johnson to play Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running back Larry Johnson's injured
right foot "has made significant improvement" though he has been ruled out to play Sunday, the Kansas City
Chiefs said Thursday.

Johnson, who rushed for more than 1,750 yards each of the past
two years, was injured in the fourth quarter last week of Kansas
City's 33-22 loss to Green Bay.

As expected, coach Herman Edwards said he would not play against Denver.


A Denver television station reported earlier this week that
Johnson has a broken foot and is out for the year. The Chiefs have
insisted all they know is he has a midfoot sprain and will
probably not play this Sunday.


A news release by the Chiefs said Johnson had "less swelling
and pain in his injured right foot."


"His status will be re-evaluated again early next week with
further exams and tests," the statement said. It was signed by Carl Peterson, the
Chiefs' president and general manager, and team physician Dr. Jon
Browne.


Johnson's long-term loss would possibly be crippling to the
Chiefs (4-4), who are tied with San Diego atop the AFC West. His
1,958 yards in his first 16 starts exceeded every other running
back in league history and he has scored Kansas City's last 36 rushing touchdowns.


It would also be a tough blow financially to the team because he
signed a six-year,
$45 million contract in August that made him the
highest-paid player in franchise history, with $19 million
guaranteed.


Slowed by a nagging hamstring injury and inconsistent blocking
by the offensive line, Johnson is off to a slow start and has 559
yards on 158 carries, with three touchdowns.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.