Rookie Armani Watts injures ankle but Dee Ford, Mitch Morse return to action

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The injury bug bit the Chiefs during the first workout of training camp as rookie safety Armani Watts left practice with an ankle injury.

Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford answers questions from reporters after the team’s first minicamp practice as a prelude to the opening of training camp later this week in St. Joseph, Mo. (Photo by Matt Derrick,, July 23, 2018)

Watts limped to the sideline during individual drills early in practice. After a few moments with trainers in the medical tent, Watts rode a cart back to the training facility for further evaluation. The extent of the injury is not yet know.

The Chiefs selected Watts with a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. The former Texas A&M product appeared in line for meaningful playing time as a backup safety, and with a strong training camp could push for time with the first-team defense.

The Chiefs did receive good news on other injury fronts, however. Linebacker Dee Ford, center Mitch Morse, wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas and running backs Spencer Ware and Damien Williams also participated in practice to varying levels.

Ford and Morse both received positive reporters from Rick Burkholder, the team’s head athletic trainer.

“Dee Ford is here, he’s doing great,” Bukholder said. “We anticipate that he’s going to be OK as we get into pads. Mitch Morse the same thing. He’s healed up, been cleared, he did everything today.”

Ware and Thomas both carried heavy workloads in practice Monday, which was non-contact. Burkholder said Thomas will be brought along slowly as he returns from a leg fracture.

“He did a lot today, we’ll take him day-by-day and we’ll bleed him back into contact as the camp goes on,” Burkholder said. “Right now we’re just going to get him ready for contact but he’s not going to do it.”

A similar play awaits Ware.

“(He’s) doing phenomenal as you saw in practice,” Burkholder said. “But we’ll bring him back slowly.”

Williams, who underwent shoulder surgery during the offseason, also carried a full workload in Monday’s practice and appears ready to start camp with no restrictions.

A team spokesperson said no decisions have been made yet regarding any players who might begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Only cornerback Ashton Lampkin remained on the sideline during much of practice. He suffered a torn ACL during last year’s training camp as a rookie.

“He’s not quite ready yet and we’ll just take him day-by-day,” Burkholder said.

The Chiefs started a three-day minicamp for rookies, quarterbacks and players returning from injury on Monday. The minicamp continues through Wednesday with full training camp starting Thursday afternoon.


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