It remains to be seen when star running back Jamaal Charles hits the field again for the Chiefs. But on Monday, coach Andy Reid made it sound like it might not be that far off.
“We’ll see — he’s getting closer here,” Reid said. “We’ve probably been overly cautious, but there’s a chance he’s out there this week. We’ll see how it goes.”
Charles, 29, has spent the last year rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which he suffered last October against Chicago. He’s been practicing for the better part of a month, and Reid said Charles has been getting both scout team and work with the first units.
Reid’s response was stronger and more optimistic than it was last Monday, when he said he simply said he “wouldn’t rule out” a return for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
Charles has worked out on the field with the team before the last few games, which is a positive sign regarding his improvement. But one thing working against a return for him this week — the Chiefs face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday — is the fact the Chiefs will have a bye immediately afterward, meaning they could essentially give him three more weeks of rest by sitting him Sunday.
In Charles’ stead, the running game — which has been manned by Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West — has been solid. The Chiefs were held to 2.7 yards per carry against the Jets, but over the first three games, the team is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, which ranks eighth in the league.