Spencer Ware discusses rehabilitation after 2017 season-ending injury
Spencer Ware was back.
Not in a huge way. His totals from the Chiefs’ 27-20 loss on Saturday were light: Three yards on three rushing attempts and two receptions for 18 yards.
But for the first time in exactly one year, Ware was on the field to log statistics.
“It felt good to be back, even if it was just getting my feet wet,” Ware said.
On Aug. 25, 2017 against the Seahawks in Seattle, Ware took a pass in the red zone and churned hard toward the goal line. His knee was twisted in a tackle and he was carted off the field.
The early word was a sprained knee. But a MRI revealed a torn PCL and LCL. He entered that game as the team’s starting running back. But Ware would miss the season and begin his arduous rehabilitation.
“It was a long road back,” Ware said. “I had to stick to the plan they had for me. I was a little antsy out there but I just had to get used to playing football again.”
Ware had to become reacquainted with cutting, shifting, receiving and delivering contact “all in game speed,” he said. “That was going to be the challenge. It’s about getting that pop, that burst, that acceleration.”
Chiefs Coach Andy Reid saw progress.
“I thought he ran hard,” Reid said. “He caught the ball pretty well…it’s good to have him back.”
Ware’s biggest play on Saturday occurred on the first snap of the second half. He turned a short reception from quarterback Patrick Mahomes into a 17-yard gain.
“It was awesome to see 32 out there running around,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “We’ve seen him it in practice so we know he’s been getting there. We know what type of player he is when he’s at his best.”
Ware was the Chiefs’ rushing leader in 2016 when he gained 921 yards for the team that went 12-4 and won the first of successive AFC West titles.
His injury last year opened the door for rookie Kareem Hunt, who went on to lead the NFL in rushing. The running back room has changed since the end of last season. Gone is Charcandwick West, who was released earlier this week and signed with the Jets.
Signed in the off-season were Damien Williams, Kerwynn Williams and Darrel Williams. Assuming the Chiefs keep three running backs in addition to fullback Anthony Sherman they will have decisions to make after their final preseason game on Thursday.
At full speed, Ware would give the Chiefs a strong, move-the-pile type of back and improve depth at the position. Hunt is the starter but the Chiefs didn’t have another running back last season who gained 100 yards on the season.