Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles returned to practice in uniform on Tuesday, his first action since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last year against the Bears in the fifth game of the season.
Charles went through stretching and light running-back drills early, and then returned to the team’s locker-room area. The process was planned, according to a Chiefs official.
“What you saw this morning was part of the process, all pre-planned stuff,” Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said. “This is the next step in the fine-tuning process.”
The process involves taking Charles off the physically-unable-to-perform list, having his light workout evaluated by head coach Andy Reid and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, and have the coaches report back to Burkholder.
“We’ll give him more and more as we go,” Burkholder said. “The next couple of days he may do exactly what he did today, but we’ll keep feeding him more in practice until he’s ready to play in a game.
“He did fine in my mind. What we saw is what we expected.”
The ACL tear was the second of Charles’ career. He tore the ACL in his left knee in 2011.
Charles is the Chiefs’ career rushing leader with 7,220 yards in his eight seasons. He also holds the NFL record for career yards-per-carry average by a running back at 5.47.
Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West took over running back duties after Charles went down last season and combined for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns.