McIntosh injures knee, leaves Chiefs offensive line in doubt

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Kansas City's already shaky offensive line suffered a huge blow Tuesday with the news that starting left tackle Damion McIntosh might miss an extended period of time with a knee injury.

McIntosh hurt his right knee late Monday afternoon during practice and was taken off the field on a motorized cart. Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said Tuesday that doctors are still evaluating McIntosh's injury, initially diagnosed as a sprain.

"He's hurting," Edwards said. "Right now he's week-to-week. It'll be a while."

The Chiefs signed McIntosh, a seven-year veteran who played previously at San Diego and Miami, during the offseason hoping he could fill the void created by left tackle Willie Roaf's abrupt retirement before the 2006-07 season.

Kansas City also is trying to replace another perennial Pro Bowler, guard Will Shields, who retired this past offseason.

Edwards said third-year pro Will Svitek, a former sixth-round draft choice and converted defensive lineman, will take over as the starter at left tackle.

"He's got a great opportunity," Edwards said. "It's his turn. He's got to go play now. And I anticipate he's going to go in there and play well."

Svitek, who has played in just three games during his NFL career, said he's excited about the challenge.

"I've got to work hard on my fundamentals, because I lack experience," he said. "But if I take care of my techniques and do well, and know what I need to do, I'll be OK."

Svitek said the pressure of taking over a high-profile position considered crucial to protecting a quarterback's blind side doesn't faze him.

"There's always pressure," he said. "This is the NFL. It's a high-performance business. You've got to step up."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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