Jamaal Charles is fresh off a season-high 11 touches in the Chiefs’ 26-10 win over the Oakland Raiders, but the star running back’s status for Sunday’s home game against the New Orleans is up in the air.
On Friday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid revealed Charles was limited in practice because of swelling in his knee and will be listed as a questionable for Sunday’s noon game against the Saints. Charles has played in the Chiefs’ last two games as he continues to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, logging nine carries for 33 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders.
“He had a little bit of swelling in (his knee Thursday),” Reid said. “We’re just taking it down for today but we think everything will be OK as we go.”
If Charles can’t go, the rushing duties will fall to Spencer Ware, who has emerged as the No. 1 back by leading the team with 78 carries, 415 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, and Charcandrick West, who has has battled an elbow injury but has logged 15 carries for 82 yards this season.
Cornerback Phillip Gaines, who is also making his way back from a torn ACL, was also limited on Friday and will be listed as questionable. The Chiefs could use Gaines, who played in their first three games as a third corner, against the Saints’ prolific passing attack, led by quarterback Drew Brees. Over the last two games, Gaines’ playing time has been absorbed by rookie sixth-round pick D.J. White.
Reid also provided another update on star outside linebacker Justin Houston, who was cleared for practice this week following offseason knee surgery.
“We’re just taking it nice and easy, just so he could get acclimated,” Reid said. “But he moved around pretty good.”
Reid, who also hinted earlier this week that Justin Houston probably won’t play Sunday, confirmed that Friday.
“No, he won’t be activated,” Reid said.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali did not practice Friday, which has been standard for him all season as the team attempts to rest his balky knees. He is expected to play Sunday.
Saints injury report
The Saints will have at least three starters out because of injuries: cornerback Delvin Breaux (fibula), tackle Andrus Peat (groin) and cornerback Sterling Moore (abdomen).
Defensive end Paul Kruger (back) and left tackle Terron Armstead (knee) are questionable. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley practiced Friday and is expected to play.