The Chiefs are holding out hope that running back Spencer Ware’s knee injury won’t cost him the 2017 season, but they are awaiting a more complete diagnosis.
Ware had an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury, which occurred during Friday’s preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks. While the Chiefs did not provide more information, a source told The Star that Ware is believed to have injured his LCL and PCL.
“It’s not one of those things that’s just clear-cut end of the season, or I’d tell you it was,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said during a teleconference earlier Saturday. “That’s not what it is right now. So we just gotta see exactly what the MRI shows and then go from there.
“He’s sore. You gotta go through the whole process here.”
The cart arrived for Ware during the Chiefs’ opening drive Friday. He caught a pass from quarterback Alex Smith in the first quarter, broke a couple of tackles and clutched the knee after being taken to the ground. Ware, the Chiefs’ leading rusher in 2016, slammed his fist into his hand in frustration as the cart disappeared under the tunnel at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
In the scenario that Ware misses time, rookie Kareem Hunt is slotted to move atop the depth chart, Reid confirmed Saturday, with Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller also seeing more significant roles than originally planned.
“We’ve got Kareem; we’ve got Charcandrick and C.J. We’ve always rotated guys — it will be no different in this case,” Reid said. “But (Hunt) would be the next man up, yes.
Reid added, “They all have their strengths, for sure, things that you can utilize.”
Ware led the the Chiefs with 921 yards on 214 carries in 2016, adding three touchdowns in his first season atop the running back depth chart. He was expected to retain that job this season, though Hunt received first-string reps over the past two preseason games.
Hunt, a third-round pick from Toledo in the 2017 draft, has 18 carries for 79 yards (4.4 yards per carry) in the first three preseason games. He has also caught four passes. He rushed for 1,475 yards and 10 touchdowns in his senior season at Toledo.
“He learned how fast things can change, where all of a sudden you become that starter,” Reid said after Friday’s game. “For a young guy, you always tell them, ‘Hey, you’re one play away from being in there as the guy.’ He got that firsthand tonight.”
West and Spiller, playing behind Hunt, combined for 9 yards in six carries over the second half Friday.
Starters likely to rest in preseason finale
When the Chiefs close out their preseason schedule Thursday against Tennessee, their starters are unlikely to step onto the field. Reid said there’s a “pretty good chance” he rests the regulars Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium.
In assessing the group’s preseason as a whole, Reid offered some praise but pointed toward the slew of dropped balls in Friday’s finale.
“We started fast and put together some good downs. I thought we were stalled by dropped balls and penalties there, but mostly dropped balls,” he said. “I thought we ran the ball well and functioned pretty good defensively. I felt pretty good with that. We had a couple of big plays in there that we normally don’t have, so we gotta take care of that.
“For the most part, we have to keep getting better. We’re not where we need to be, but I think we’re on track. I’m pretty comfortable with that part of it.”