Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) in the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Given his long history of shoulder problems, nobody could fault Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith for a few moments of concern at halftime of last Sunday's game against St. Louis.
Smith had absorbed a sack just before halftime, landing hard on his throwing shoulder. But after he received some treatment in the locker room, Smith returned to the field and played the entire second half without missing a beat in a 34-7 blowout victory.
"I didn't want to make a big deal of it. Felt like it was something I could handle," said Smith, who didn't even have ice on his shoulder during his post-game news conference. "The last two days have been great. I feel like I've got great work in. I expect to do the same today."
In other words, Smith planned to practice Wednesday and expects to be close to 100 percent when the Chiefs (4-3) welcome the New York Jets to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
"We'll just see how he does, but that's the way it's looking," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said before Wednesday's workouts. "The docs looked at him to make sure he wasn't in a position where there would be any further injuries, but he was OK today. Felt good yesterday."
That's good news given Smith's history of shoulder trouble.
The first significant injury happened four games into the 2007 season, when Smith was starting for San Francisco against Seattle. He separated his shoulder on the first series of the game, and wound up missing the next two weeks. Smith returned to play in three games, struggling in each, and did not play the rest of the season.
He had surgery that December to repair three torn ligaments, and then went through an entire offseason of rehabilitation to prepare for the 2008 season.
Just before it was about to begin, Smith was throwing a pass in practice and felt a sharp pain in the shoulder. Tests revealed a broken bone, and Smith spent the entire season on IR.
Throw in a separated non-throwing shoulder in 2010, when Smith was landed on by Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, and it made sense that he was worried when he felt soreness Sunday.
"Enough that I went in and was getting treatment at halftime and getting it looked at," he said. "But in the middle of it you're pretty loose, feeling loose."
The Chiefs rarely threw downfield in the second half against St. Louis, though Reid and Smith both denied the play calling had anything to do with the quarterback's physical limitations.
"I hope not. I certainly didn't feel like that, didn't need to be like that," Smith said. "I felt 100 percent, felt like I could do anything I had to do. Honestly, I'm going where the defense tells me to. I'm not predetermining anything."
Smith wound up completing 24 of 28 passes for 226 yards against the Rams. He's completing a career-best 66 percent of his passes this season, with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
In other injury news, veteran linebacker Joe Mays returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since landing on the short-term IR in training camp with a broken wrist.
Reid said Mays will ease back into practice and it's a long shot for him to be ready for Sunday's game. The Chiefs have three weeks to add him back to the active roster.
"We're just going to try to get him back in the swing of things," Reid said. "We look forward to doing that, start getting him back into a little bit of football shape."