KANAS CITY, Mo. — When the Chiefs take on the San Diego Chargers in the season opener at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday, it’s appearing more likely the will do so without All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles.
The running back continues his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained nearly a year ago, Oct. 11, 2015 against the Chicago Bears. Charles has returned to practice, but the time may not be ready for Charles to play in a game, according to head coach Andy Reid.
“Jamaal’s got to keep working through this,” Reid said. “I think it’s a stretch for him to play Sunday, but we’ll see how it goes.”
The Chiefs may be without Charles but likely will have safety Eric Berry and linebacker Tamba Hali available. Reid said Berry looked likely to play the full game Sunday if healthy, while Hali likely works in a rotation.
“I don’t think Tamba will play the full load, we’ll rotate Tamba and just by sheer age and wear on the body,” Reid said. “If you keep him in there he’s going to go 8,000 miles an hour. He does it in practice, he does it in games, which you love.”
Hali likely will work in a rotation with linebackers Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses. Dee Ford starts opposite Hali. The Chiefs also have rookie linebacker Dadi Nicolas on the active roster.
The Chiefs carry three backup running backs into the season with Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis. They added a fourth running back, Darrin Reaves, to the practice after he cleared waivers Sunday.
West also is recovering from an elbow injury suffered in the team’s first preseason game against Seattle. West has also returned to practice as a full participant but did not play in the final three preseason games.