Extended break could help Chiefs get back injured starters

The Kansas City Chiefs gutted through two games in five days, and while they failed to come away with a victory, the 10 days of rest and recovering before meeting the Denver Broncos on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium could allow head coach Andy Reid to add several key faces back to his starting lineup.

The coach indicated Friday center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif could return to the offensive line next week.

“There’s a chance we get some guys back, not only those two but some other but a couple of the other guys back too,” Reid said. “Be good to get those guys back in the mix but the guys who have been in there have done a nice job for us.”

Kanas City Chiefs center Mitch Morse could return to action in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos after missing five games with a sprained foot. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Morse missed five games with a foot sprain suffered during a Week 2 win over Philadelphia. The Chiefs lost Duvernay-Tardif to a sprained knee during a Week 4 win against Washington.

Left guard Parker Ehinger could also make a triumphant return to the offensive line soon. The Week 8 game against Denver on Oct. 30 marks the one-year anniversary of his tearing his ACL last season.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs could soon see the return of pass rusher Tamba Hali and cornerback Steven Nelson. Hali started the season on the physically unable to perform list. He did not practice with the team during training camp or the preseason.

Reid did not indicate a timetable for Hali’s possible return to the active roster.

“He’s feeling okay,” Reid said. “We’ll address all that as we go here.”

Nelson started the season on injured reserve with a core muscle injury. The team can return the third-year cornerback to practice any time. That decision starts a three-week clock to return to the active roster. Nelson cannot return to game action until at least the Week 9 game at Dallas.

Reid plans to take advantage of the 10-day break between games to give his team some much-needed rest. Players have a three-day weekend before returning with a short practice Monday. The team then enters its regular weekly schedule with an off day planned for Tuesday.

The rest could come in handy for young player such as running back Kareem Hunt. The rookie every-down back carried a significant chunk of the team’s workload through the first seven weeks. Reid said he remains pleased with Hunt’s conditioning.

“It’s the National Football League, so I’m not telling you he’s waking up after games wanting to go run a marathon, that’s not what he’s doing,” Reid said. “That’s part of this position and how you feel. I think he’s doing a heck of a job. He was strong again in the fourth quarter.”

The coach said the mini-bye week proves a good opportunity for his team to rest and recover.

“It’s good depending on how you handle it,” Reid said. “When you have an opportunity to rest up here a little bit you got to do that, which I think the guys will do.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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