The worst fears of the Chiefs seemed to be realized Monday when they watched Jamaal Charles leave the practice field in the back of a motorized cart because of a right foot injury.
But afterward, the Chiefs didn’t appear concerned that Charles’ absence would be extended. They said X-rays were negative and that Charles had a strained foot.
Coach Andy Reid called Charles’ premature exit from practice and the X-rays “precautionary measures.” Reid provided no timetable for Charles’ return but suggested it wasn’t unreasonable that Charles would play in Friday night’s preseason game against San Francisco at Arrowhead Stadium.
“We’ll see how he does here in the next little bit,” Reid said. “We’ll see where he’s at as far as pain or swelling.
“If he’s ready to go, he’ll go.”
A foot strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon.
Phillip Kwong isn’t familiar with Charles’ injury. But as an orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlin-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles, Kwong is familiar with foot injuries.
Kwong indicated that in the best-case scenario, it would be unlikely that a running back with a foot strain would be able to play four days after suffering the injury.
“The injury happened Monday,” Kwong said. “When you strain your foot, it’s probably not likely even with a mild injury that you would be able to play on Friday. I would think not. I would think it would be a matter of at least two or three weeks before he could think about playing running back, where you have to plant, cut, change directions.
“It could be that or even longer. A lot of it depends on how much ligament injury he sustained and how much bruising of the bone he sustained. It’s going to take a good three or four weeks before he’s comfortable being the explosive kind of back he’s used to being. He can rush back and be back a lot sooner. I wouldn’t think he would want to rush back with this kind of injury. There’s a risk of injuring it more.”
A worst-case scenario for Charles, Kwong said, might be a Lisfranc injury, which could keep him from playing football for an extended time. Such an injury would only be detected by an magnetic resonance imaging test. While the Chiefs said Charles had an X-ray, they did not say whether he would be given an MRI exam.
“If you push it a certain way, what happens in varying degrees is you tear the ligaments in such a way that the foot is not stable,” Kwong said. “If someone was to plant and push off, the foot is not able to support that. That would be a severe case.”
Charles was injured early in the team portion of practice. He went to the sideline, talked with team trainers and then was examined by doctors in the medical tent adjacent to the practice fields.
Soon after Charles was taken from the field in a motorized cart.
Most of the snaps that would have gone to Charles instead were given to rookie Knile Davis. Some went to Shaun Draughn.
“It was good work for Knile today, if you want to take a positive out of it,” Reid said. “Draughn got some good work. It gives the others guys an opportunity to practice. That’s how I look at it. Knile, our young running back, got good quality work with the (starters).”
Davis said he was comfortable with everything in the Chiefs’ playbook. But on one play shortly after Charles departed, Davis lined up in the wrong spot, forcing a brief interruption in practice.
“Everything is happening fast, especially when we’re on a fast pace,” Davis said.