KANSAS CITY (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs didn't take any chances in a regular-season finale that had no bearing on their playoff situation, resting virtually all of their starters in an overtime loss to San Diego.
Now, it appears the Chiefs will be near full strength for the first time in weeks when they visit the Indianapolis Colts for an AFC wild-card playoff game Saturday (3:30 p.m., KOMU-TV).
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was going through the protocol to clear him from a concussion he sustained against the Colts two weeks ago, while outside linebacker Tamba Hali is making progress from inflammation in his knee.
Fellow linebacker Justin Houston, who's been out with a dislocated elbow, and left tackle Branden Albert, who's had a hyperextended knee, are also expected back against the Colts.
"It's the start of a new season. That's how the playoffs work," Reid said. "You're in the dance, as they say. It's another phase of the season. You've worked very hard as a team to get into this position. Now it's important that you exhaust yourself to make sure you're right."
At least in terms of health, the Chiefs are getting right at the right time.
Bowe would not have been cleared to play in the 27-24 loss to the Chargers, but Reid sounded optimistic Monday he'll be ready to go against Indianapolis. The Chiefs' top pass catcher was hurt late in a 23-7 loss to the Colts at Arrowhead Stadium when he landed on his neck.
Hali, meanwhile, developed some tenderness in his knee against the Colts, and the team's leading pass rusher was held out of practice last week. Reid said Monday "the inflammation in his knee has gone down, and we'll just see how he does tomorrow."
The Chiefs are scheduled to have a full practice today.
Houston and Albert both practiced fully last week, only to sit out Sunday with a slew of other key players. Houston hasn't played since hurting his elbow against San Diego on Nov. 24, while Albert hurt his knee the following week against Denver.
Reid also said cornerback Sean Smith, who hurt his knee Sunday, was doing fine when he arrived to the team's practice facility Monday. Right tackle Eric Fisher, who left the game and has been dealing with shoulder injuries, is also expected to be ready for the Colts.
"Obviously, guys are going to be feeling pretty fresh, so that's a good thing," said quarterback Alex Smith, who was among seven inactive for the Chargers game. "It will really help us as far as the week goes, having a great week of preparation."
After going just 2-14 last season, the Chiefs fired coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli and overhauled most of the front office. Reid was brought in along with new GM John Dorsey, and in short order they managed to change the entire culture of the franchise.
Kansas City raced to a 9-0 start fueled by an opportunistic defense and spectacular special teams, only to struggle down the stretch. The Chiefs will head into the playoffs having lost five of their last seven games, including their first meeting with the Colts.
Reid was quick to point out several of those were narrow defeats, including a last-second loss to the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium and the overtime loss Sunday.
The Chiefs finished 6-2 on the road this season.