Will he or won’t he?
That’s the question, still, surrounding star receiver Tyreek Hill’s availability to play for the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.
Hill, who has been sidelined by a shoulder injury since the Chiefs’ season opener at Jacksonville, will be a game-time decision Sunday against Houston, coach Andy Reid said Friday.
The injury has taken some time to heal, which is not surprising — after all, it was bad enough that Hill required hospitalization in Florida after that September game against the Jaguars.
Hill was able to work out with the Chiefs’ scout team this week and run “a few plays” on offense, but whether quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target will be in the lineup against Houston remains to be seen. Mahomes (ankle) practiced fully the entire week and is not assigned an injury designation, so he is on track to play with no limitations.
Reid has emphasized that any determination on Hill’s playing status will be first discussed with the team’s medical staff, and his stance didn’t change Friday.
“We’ll see how it rolls down the road here,” Reid said.
The Chiefs are likely to get a good look at Hill, who is officially designated as questionable, during pre-game conditioning, but he is truly a game-time decision. And the fact the Chiefs have a short turnaround after Sunday’s game with a Thursday night contest in Week 7 will not factor in the decision on Hill’s availability.
“If you can go, you can go as long as it’s clear you can get yourself ready for whatever next game there is,” Reid said. “That’s how we’ve always been. I don’t get too much into that other part. If he can play, he can play.”
In other injury news Friday, Reid said left tackle Eric Fisher (groin), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) and linebacker Dorian O’Daniel (hamstring) are out for Sunday’s game and will not play.
Cam Erving, who practiced fully the past week with a knee injury, will continue to start in Fisher’s place, while the Chiefs are likely to lean on a defensive rotation inside consisting of Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders and recently signed Terrell McClain.
Receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) and guard Andrew Wylie (ankle) are doubtful for Sunday, Reid said.
If Hill and Watkins aren’t available Sunday, the Chiefs would be shorthanded at receiver considering Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, rookie Mecole Hardman and DeAnthony Thomas are the remaining wideouts on the active 53-player roster.
The Chiefs listed linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who was limited in practice the entire week with a groin injury, as questionable. Ben Niemann, who played 70 defensive snaps in relief of Hitchens, would once again see extended playing time if Hitchens can’t play.
Running back LeSean McCoy (ankle), defensive end Alex Okafor (hip) and fullback Anthony Sherman (shoulder) put in a full practice Friday for a third straight day and are not assigned game designations. Okafor is set to return to the lineup after not playing in Week 5.