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Chiefs’ Gonzalez Sprains Ligament

August 28, 1999

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez had an MRI on his right knee Friday and it showed there was no long-term damage and he could be ready for the Chiefs’ season opener at Chicago on Sept. 12.

The third-year veteran, who set a team record for tight ends with 59 catches last season, was injured in Thursday night’s 31-6 exhibition loss at Jacksonville.

The MRI showed the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder sprained a ligament.

Kansas City coach Gunther Cunningham said Gonzalez could be ready to go when the Chiefs take on the Bears.

``It looks pretty good,″ Cunningham said. ``I’m very optimistic. It’s the best that I could ever hoped for.″

Gonzalez was blocking on a run by Bam Morris in the first quarter when his leg was caught in a pileup. He lay on the ground for several minutes and then was helped off the field, unable to put weight on the leg.

Afterward, on crutches with the leg wrapped in ice, he said it was the third time he had such an injury.

``Once in high school, once when I was a junior in college,″ he said. ``I was kidding with the doctor, sounding like an expert on it. I said, `It’s probably a grade 2 MCL.′ With the one I had in college, I was out two weeks. I initially thought it was worse. But after it calmed down, it was better. I still don’t know what it is. But I can walk on it. I’m looking forward to a speedy recovery.″

Gonzalez will not have to use crutches while he recovers.

A first-round pick in 1997, Gonzalez had a terrific training camp and was being counted on to carry much of the offensive load. He was leading the club in the preseason with five catches for 49 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown last week against Tampa Bay.

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