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The Chiefs and NFL by beat writers Randy Covitz and Terez Paylor

Donald Stephenson returns to Chiefs’ practice after ankle injury

07/30/2014 4:57 PM

07/30/2014 4:57 PM

Right tackle Donald Stephenson left Monday’s practice in one of the scarier moments so far at Chiefs training camp on the Missouri Western campus.

Stephenson was blocking near the sideline and suffered a sprained left ankle when a teammate rolled up Stephenson’s leg from behind.

It looked like the kind of injury that could sideline Stephenson, a Blue Springs native, for a week or more.

Instead, Stephenson returned to practice Wednesday.

“It was, No. 1, good to get him back out here and get him working,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “He’s a tough kid. Physically, he’s going to be fine.”

Stephenson, along with Jeff Allen, is the second-longest tenured Chiefs lineman behind Rodney Hudson. So Stephenson’s return is particularly important, especially given that the offensive line is among the Chiefs’ biggest question marks.

Left tackle Eric Fisher, who struggled at right tackle as a rookie, has been limited in practice, and there is a revolving door at right guard, with rookie Zach Fulton and second-year lineman Rishaw Johnson battling for the starting job.

Depth appears to be an issue along the line, so having Stephenson — who was a third-round pick in 2012, the same year the Chiefs drafted Allen in the second round — is critical.

“I know my team needs me, so I did double treatment, all that stuff, to get back on the field,” Stephenson said. “I got back faster than I thought I would, and I’m proud of it.”

Stephenson wasn’t a full participant. Allen took some reps at right tackle.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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