ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Chiefs are suddenly thin at the inside linebacker position.
Linebackers Josh Mauga and rookie D.J. Alexander left Wednesday’s practice and did not return.
“Mauga’s heel was bothering him,” coach Andy Reid said. “So we just held him out, let him do some warm-ups, try it, see how it felt. It was tight, so we just took him out.”
Mauga eventually returned to the area in shorts to join the Chiefs’ other injured players working with trainers off to the side. The sixth-year pro appeared to walk gingerly.
Alexander initially received treatment in the trainers tent, where team personnel removed his left cleat and focused on his lower left leg. He was then taken up the hill and did not return.
“Alexander has a high-ankle sprain,” Reid said.
The Chiefs started practice down inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson, whose calf injury has kept him out of practicing since full-team workouts in training camp began Aug. 1.
Rookies Ramik Wilson and Justin March, the remaining two healthy inside linebackers, split repetitions alongside Derrick Johnson.
Outside linebacker Frank Zombo, who has filled in for Dee Ford (concussion), can also move inside if needed.
The Chiefs had good news on the injured front.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed the previous two days of work with a neck strain, returned to the practice field along with guard Marcus Reed, who left Tuesday’s practice with an ankle injury.
Defensive end Mike Catapanao (groin) joined Mauga, James-Michael Johnson, quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), offensive lineman Garrett Frye (knee), defensive linemen Nick Williams (concussion), rookie wide receiver Jeret Smith (hamstring) and tight end Demetrius Harris (foot) with the trainers off the to the side.
Ford, wide receiver Albert Wilson (illness), defensive tackle Dontari Poe (back) and wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip) were not on the field.