ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs activated running back Jamaal Charles on Tuesday, allowing the Pro Bowler to join the team on the practice field for the first time since the start of training camp.
The Chiefs announced before practice Tuesday they removed Charles from the physically unable to perform list. The procedural move does not mean that Charles is ready to play in game, but he is ready for the next step in his recovery process from knee surgery, according to the team’s head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder.
“This was the next step in the fine tuning process where he got to go through some stuff with (running backs) coach (Eric) Bieniemy,” Burkholder said.
Charles participated in stretching and on-field drills with the running backs, then departed for the training facility when team drills began. Burkholder said that pattern may continue for the next few days as Charles works himself back into playing condition.
“He did fine in my mind,” Burkholder said. “We’ve done that with him as athletic trainers. What we saw was what we expected. We took him up and he did his rehab this morning. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Coaches and players alike are happy to see Charles back in Chiefs red.
“It’s just good to see 25 out on the field,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “It lifts everybody’s spirits anytime you get a veteran player like that back.”
Cornerback Steven Nelson agreed.
“We love 25 and we’re glad to have him back,” he said.
The team placed Charles on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list when he reported to camp last month. Charles suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament surgery in his right knee Oct. 11 in a game against the Chicago Bears.
Burkholder said the trainers and coaches would continue to expand the running back’s workload but did not set a timetable for when Charles would return to the starting lineup.
“It’s an absolute day-to-day process,” Burkholder said. “We’ll evaluate every day that he’s out here and we’ll change what we’re doing up in the field house as well as on the field, then we’ll just give him more and more as we go.”
Linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston remain on the team’s physically unable to perform list and have yet to practice at training camp.
Fellow linebacker Dezman Moses left practice early with what a team spokesperson said was a muscle spasm or cramp in his leg. Moses worked with trainers on the sidelines for the remainder of practice.
Quarterback Tyler Bray missed his second straight practice after being diagnosed with a neck injury suffered against Seattle on Saturday. Charcandrick West also missed practice with an elbow injury, while linebacker Josh Mauga continues rehabbing a groin injury.