Cornerback Chris Owens, who suffered a knee injury against the 49ers, won’t practice Monday.
If Owens is unable to play this week against San Diego — Chiefs coach Andy Reid said “it’s a stretch” — cornerbacks Phillip Gaines and Jamell Fleming are the next men up at nickel cornerback.
“You have Phillip and (Jamell) Fleming, you’ve got some guys that can go in there and do that, that have worked in there, so we’ll just see how it all works out here,” Reid said.
Reid said Gaines, a third-round pick this year who suffered a concussion against the 49ers, is okay now and has been making steady improvement, particularly on special teams where he’s had a handful of big hits and seen his role increase in recent games.
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“His confidence level and his strength and all those things are improving,” Reid said. “The speed of the game, it doesn’t look like it’s quite as fast for him as what it was when he first got into it.”
Reid said this improvement translates to the defensive side as well, though Gaines has only played four of 318 possible snaps this season.
“We see that in practice too as a cover guy, as a corner, so he gives you that,” Reid said. “To answer your question, he’s got tremendous speed and quickness.”
Inside linebacker Joe Mays, who suffered a wrist injury before the regular season, isn’t slated to return from injured reserve this week even though he’s eligible to.
“He’s not quite ready yet, but he’s getting there,” Reid said. “I just know when he’s scheduled to get himself back and it’s not this week, from a medical standpoint.”
The league allows each team to place one player per season on the injured reserve/designated for return list. After eight weeks, the player can return to the active roster.
▪ Reid said the length of time receiver Donnie Avery will miss due to sports hernia surgery, which he had last week, remains uncertain.
“He’s out right now, but ... we haven’t IR’ed him,” Reid said.
▪ Reid said running back Cyrus Gray, who has a fractured hand, “can move around a bit.”