KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs return to work on Tuesday after a week-long break to start preparations for an AFC West road trip to Oakland, and head coach Andy Reid hopes it also marks the return of safety Eric Berry to the practice field..
Reid plans to discuss with Berry a possible return to practice as early as Wednesday. A sore heel kept the three-time All-Pro defender on the sidelines through the first 12 weeks of the season. But while some anticipate Berry's possible return providing a shot of adrenaline into an inconsistent Chiefs defense, Reid says he's under no illusions what Berry might bring to the table during the season's home stretch.
“I think we'll just take that day-by-day and just see how he does,” Reid said. “I don't have an expectation either way on that. I wouldn't know how to gauge that right now, but I know he is feeling better.”
Berry last practiced with the Chiefs on Aug. 11, but his absence from the field goes back much further. He ruptured his left Achilles tendon during the team's 42-27 season-opening win against the New England Patriots in 2017 and missed the remainder of the season. That's the only game Berry has played – preseason, regular season or playoffs – since the team's 18-16 playoff loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 15, 2017.
There's nothing new, however, with the sore right heel plaguing Berry now. The heel served as a nuisance last season before he tore his left Achilles. Berry reportedly developed a Haglund's deformity in his right heel, which is an enlargement of the bone near the Achilles tendon. The condition causes inflammation and severe pain in the foot, and can lead to bursitis.
Reid has declined to confirm the diagnosis. Club have described Berry, who turns 30 next month, as “literally day-to-day” since the opening week of the season.
“He's gotten a little bit better every week,” Reid said. “It's not one of those things that heals overnight, that's not how that works.”
While Berry appears likely to test his problematic heel on the practice field soon, his return to the lineup doesn't appear imminent. Given his length layoff, Reid sees no reason to rush Berry back into action too soon. If he practices this week, a return in Week 14 at home against Baltimore appears more likely than at Oakland this weekend.
“I think we just start him off slow, let's see what he can do when that thing feels right,” Reid said. “Whether it's this week, next week, whatever, again there's no expectation there.”