After missing game due to injury, Chiefs QB Croyle set to return vs. Broncos

Sidelined last week by a back injury, second-year quarterback Brodie Croyle will return to the Kansas City Chiefs' starting lineup for Sunday's game at Denver.

Croyle, 24, practiced Wednesday and Thursday without any complications from the injury he suffered in the Nov. 25 game against the Oakland Raiders, when he was inadvertently kneed in the back. Because of the area of the injury, near the kidney, Chiefs officials were especially cautious, but doctors have said there should be no problem.

The team's third-round choice in the 2006 draft, Croyle is still viewed for now as the club's best long-term possibility for providing stability at the position. The former Alabama star got the first two starts of his NFL career games against Indianapolis and Oakland, respectively, on Nov. 18 and Nov. 25, both losses.

The slumping Chiefs, in fact, have dropped five straight games.

For the season, Croyle has appeared in five games and completed 58 of 97 passes for 614 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions, for a passer rating of 76.6. The plan, barring injury, is for Croyle to start the remaining four games, so that coach Herm Edwards and his staff can better evaluate him moving forward into 2008.

Croyle went to camp this summer projected as the starter, but struggled in preseason, and lost the No. 1 job to journeyman Damon Huard. The 11-year veteran Huard has started 10 games, including last week's loss to San Diego when Croyle was sidelined.

In another move on the quarterback depth chart, the Chiefs have placed rookie Tyler Thigpen on injured reserve, ending his season. The former Coastal Carolina standout, who was acquired by the Chiefs on waivers from the Minnesota Vikings in the first week of the season, suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in Wednesday's practice.

The injury to Thigpen leaves the Chiefs with just two quarterbacks on the active roster.

Kansas City signed free agent quarterback David Greene, a third-year veteran, to its practice squad. A former University of Georgia star, Greene was the Seattle Seahawks' third-round pick in the 2005 draft. He spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons with Seattle, but was waived this year, and spent several weeks on the New England practice squad.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.