ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — With just one more practice remaining before the Chiefs break training camp and return to Kansas City, two starters exited Wednesday’s workout with injuries.
Defensive end Chris Jones left fewer than 15 minutes into the practice during the individual drill period. Jones spoke to an athletic trainer on the sideline before riding back to the locker room. The team later reported Jones was experiencing a sore back.
During the first full-team period, wide receiver Mecole Hardman came up limping after landing hard on the ground trying to make a catch in the back of the end zone. In the final play for the first-team offense during a red-zone drill Mahomes threw the ball high to Hardman, who attempted to make a tough catch.
Hardman went to the medical tent for an examination with athletic trainers before riding as a passenger on the cart back to the locker room.
Head coach Andy Reid later told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Hardman was undergoing an MRI but that he’s optimistic the injury isn’t serious.
After a camp largely devoid of significant injuries, the Chiefs have a small but growing list of players on the sidelines. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster missed his second-straight practice due to a sore knee, while tight end Blake Bell remains out with a hip flexor injury suffered in the preseason opener against Chicago. Running back Jerick McKinnon also did not practice Wednesday due to a hamstring issue.
With Smith-Schuster and Hardman potentially missing further action in the short term, offensive coordinator says “now it’s time for the younger guys to step up.”
“This is an opportunity for someone else to show that they can play, that they can perform under pressure but also maximize the opportunity,” Bieniemy said. “Not nervous at all. Obviously, you want guys to always stay healthy but this gives a guy, a number of guys an opportunity to go up there and step up and show exactly what they can bring to the table.”
Kicker Harrison Butker missed practice earlier this week due to a sore ankle. He was at practice Wednesday and kicked on the side but the team didn’t run any field goal or kickoff drills during special teams work.
“I was able to kick today and I’ll kick tomorrow, and I think it was just precautionary,” Butker said. “Just resting from coming off a game and giving it time to go.”