Starting cornerback Phillip Gaines tore the ACL in his left knee and will go on injured reserve, dealing another blow to the Chiefs’ pass defense.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Gaines, who sustained the injury in a 38-28 loss Monday night at Green Bay, will undergo surgery.
The move opens a spot on the 53-man roster for cornerback Sean Smith, who finished serving a three-game suspension for a DUI arrest in June 2014.
Smith will likely assume Gaines’ starting spot at right cornerback in the Chiefs’ base defense — where he played last season — while first-round pick Marcus Peters should continue to man the left side Sunday, when the Chiefs play at Cincinnati.
There is a question, however, about which defensive back will defend slot receivers in Chiefs’ nickel and dime subpackages, which was previously Gaines’ job.
“We’ve got a variety of personnel groups that we can use,” Reid said. “We’ll go through those today and look at them and see how things work out.”
Peters has shifted inside on a few occasions this season, while fourth safety Tyvon Branch saw his workload increase against the Packers (41 of 76 possible snaps, including several at nickel corner) following Gaines’ injury.
The Chiefs also have Jamell Fleming, who lost his No. 3 cornerback job to Marcus Cooper following a tough showing against the Denver Broncos in which he was targeted 13 times and allowed nine completions. Fleming, however, did play some nickel corner on Monday following Gaines’ injury. He left the game because of a groin spasm and was listed on Wednesday’s injury report with a hip injury but was a full participant in practice.
Cooper played every snap at cornerback Monday — primarily on the outside, however — while third-round pick Steven Nelson also is available.
Chiefs injury report
Receiver Albert Wilson (shoulder) was limited in practice. Receiver Jason Avant (knee), receiver Chris Conley (shoulder) and inside linebacker Josh Mauga (Achilles) were all full participants.
Bengals injury report
The Bengals had five starters listed on their injury report. Safety George Iloka (ankle), cornerback Adam Jones (elbow) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) and right tackle Andre Smith (hip) were limited.
Cornerback Leon Hall (not injury related) was also limited, while defensive tackle Marcus Hardison (knee) and defensive tackle Pat Sims (hip) were full participants.