K-State Spring Game, Walter Neil

K-State defensive back Walter Neil, Jr. speaks with the media after the spring scrimmage at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in April.

Chris Klieman is optimistic a pair of key players for Kansas State will be ready to go when Saturday’s regular-season finale rolls around.

Two starters — wide receiver Malik Knowles and cornerback Walter Neil Jr. — left last week’s win at Texas Tech with injuries. Neil went down in the first quarter while Knowles’ departed in the third. Neither returned.

Though Klieman said the pair didn’t practice Monday, he noted “they were all out there moving around” and working with the team’s training staff.

That left him hopeful as he looks ahead to Saturday’s 6 p.m. kickoff with Iowa State.

“There’s a good chance all those guys will be able to play. ... I’m confident the two, Malik and Walt, who came out of the game, a couple other guys got nicked up, but should be able to play as well,” Klieman, K-State’s first-year head coach, said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I’ll probably know more Wednesday.”

Klieman said the plan was to limit Knowles and Neil’s participation during Tuesday’s practice. He’s only continued to feel better and better about their availability against the Cyclones.

“I’m more encouraged by it than I was probably on Saturday evening,” Klieman said.

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