CHIEFS NOTEBOOK

Season-high 14 Chiefs appear on injury report after Wednesday’s practice

Updated: 2013-10-03T04:40:59Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs may be 4-0 with three-fourths of the season remaining, but their health is far from perfect.

A season-high 14 Chiefs were listed on Wednesday’s injury report, including 11 who either did not practice or were limited.

Running back Jamaal Charles missed practice because of blisters on his feet, while safety Kendrick Lewis sat out because of a sprained ankle. Both played in the Chiefs’ 31-7 win over the Giants on Sunday, unlike cornerback Brandon Flowers and third-round rookie tight end Travis Kelce, who have knee injuries. Right tackle and No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher missed practice after suffering a concussion during the first half of Sunday’s game.

In addition to the four starters who sat out Wednesday, several more starters were limited in practice, including guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee), who did not play against the Giants. Guard Jon Asamoah (knee), center Rodney Hudson (shin), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee) and tight end Sean McGrath (knee) all played against the Giants and are new additions to the injury report.

Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), cornerback Marcus Cooper (knee/thigh) and linebacker James-Michael Johnson (thumb) were all listed on the injury report but practiced fully Wednesday.

McCluster honored

Not that the Chiefs’ Dexter McCluster was overwhelmed by his electrifying 89-yard punt return against the New York Giants on Sunday, but, well, it’s safe to say he relished the moment.

“I remember watching it 500 times,” he said, laughing.

McCluster was speaking Wednesday shortly after it was announced he won the AFC special teams player of the week award for the play, which changed the complexion of a 10-7 game late in the third quarter. The Chiefs went on to win 31-7.

McCluster, in his fourth NFL season, also had five receptions in the game. First-year coach Andy Reid is trying to hold himself back from “overloading” McCluster by using him too much.

“You get to a point where you have him so many different places because you’re a coach — you’re not having to play the game,” Reid said, smiling. “It’s got to make sense to the player, where they’re at, why they’re there.

“He’s a very intelligent kid and works his tail off, but I’m trying to be careful with exactly how many spots we put him in. There’s only so many places … you can function with.”

And that’s returning punts as much as anything else with McCluster, whose return was the fourth-longest in Chiefs history and came on a play whose design, he said, had been “in the archives.”

Nico Johnson’s debut

Rookie linebacker Nico Johnson, a fourth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, made his regular-season debut Sunday, twice appearing on the Chiefs’ kickoff unit.

Johnson was expected to compete with veteran Akeem Jordan for the starting inside linebacker spot next to Derrick Johnson, but a high ankle sprain has bothered Johnson since the preseason, and Jordan won the job outright.

While annoyed by the nagging injury, Nico Johnson was excited to finally see some action in a game that matters.

“The tempo was a little bit faster, but there wasn’t really that much difference,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited to get more playing time if I get the chance, because, I mean, those couple of plays were fun. I enjoyed them. I was glad to be out there after what I been through.”

Roster move

The Chiefs signed offensive guard Chandler Burden to the practice squad Wednesday and released linebacker Darin Drakeford.

Burden was signed by Tennessee as an undrafted free agent in April 2012. The Titans released him before the season, and he was signed to the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad. He was released by the Dolphins in August.

Drakeford, who spent the first four weeks of the season on the Chiefs’ practice squad, was signed as a rookie free agent in May.

The Star’s Vahe Gregorian contributed to this report.

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