KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a seven-game absence, it appears wide receiver Mecole Hardman is on the brink of returning to the lineup this weekend when the Chiefs host the Denver Broncos this Sunday, according to head coach Andy Reid.
“I presume, unless there’s a setback, I presume he’ll be there,” Reid said Wednesday. “That’s where we’re at right now.”
During the portion of Wednesday’s practice open to the media, Hardman lined up in his customary position in the kick-receiving line. That was a departure from last week when he participated in the stretch period alongside defensive backs.
The Chiefs designated Hardman to return from injured reserve on Dec. 14, opening a 21-day window during which he can practice with the team before returning to the active roster. The Chiefs have until next week to activate Hardman, and he appeared close to returning last week.
“As the week went on, he got a bit tired and sore,” Reid said. “I think that was good, he worked his way through what he needed to get through, and now it’s a matter of getting him in a game.”
Since Hardman is not on the active roster, the Chiefs do not have to list him on the injury report and identify his participation status. The Chiefs have until 3 p.m. central time Saturday to activate Hardman for Sunday’s game against Denver.
Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, who was inactive against Seattle due to an illness, returned to practice on Wednesday as a full participant.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has missed the last five games due to high-ankle sprain, has yet to be designated to return from injured reserve and won’t play this week against Denver.
“He’s not ready yet,” Reid said. “He’s close but not really. High-ankle sprains, those are tough deals, man, on running backs. He’s working through everything and he’s busting his tail it’s just not quite there yet.
Chiefs right tackle Andre Wylie, who has been on the injury report with an elbow injury, is now listed as dealing with a hip issue but he remains a full participant.
Chiefs injury report
Did not practice: None
Limited participation: None
Full participation: RT Andrew Wylie (hip), TE Noah Gray (shoulder/knee), DT Derrick Nnadi (Achilles), DT Khalen Saunders (illness) and FB Michael Burton (groin)