KC Chiefs Missing Multiple Running Backs in Friday’s Practice

The Kansas City Chiefs have just a few days left before their Week 16 outing against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders. Christmas will be here before anyone knows it, and the team is hoping for good health as a potential present ahead of Monday’s game.

Unfortunately for Kansas City, that simply isn’t a guarantee. After multiple players missed practice on Thursday, the same scenario is unfolding on Friday. The list of those not practicing includes running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon, left tackle Donovan Smith, wide receiver Kadarius Toney and linebacker Cam Jones.

While it’s never a good thing that two of the Chiefs’ top three running backs are missing practice, there is a silver lining. Edwards-Helaire missed due to a personal reason that was excused, so he should be tracking to return on Saturday. McKinnon, however, isn’t as cut-and-dry. The 31-year-old halfback is being held out of yet another practice with what’s being described as a groin injury. That particular ailment has bothered him for weeks, with McKinnon missing two games in a row but being active for the most recent two.

As starter Isiah Pacheco gets back into the fold coming off shoulder surgery, here’s what head coach Andy Reid said about his Week 16 role on Thursday morning:

“Yeah, I think it’ll be a full workload, but with that, we’ve got backup relief if he needs to come out. Clyde, I mean, can — we’ve got all kinds of confidence in Clyde stepping in.”

For those who are out of Friday’s practice, their participation in activities on Saturday is something to keep an eye on. Usually, players need to get involved in some fashion in the final practice of the week for the Chiefs to potentially make them available in a game situation. If any of the aforementioned players is listed as a Did Not Participate (DNP) on Saturday, that’s a solid indicator of whether they’ll play on Monday.

Toney’s hip is worth monitoring. It’s been bothering him for a bit, but he’s mostly been able to play through the pain or discomfort aside from a Week 12 absence. Wide receivers coach Connor Embree spoke about Toney on Friday, saying that the third-year wideout is merely keeping his head down and continuing to work amid a rough stretch of play:

“Good, he’s been doing good. And that’s one thing I love about KT — he doesn’t let all the noise or any of that get to him. He’s still the same person every day, and we love that about him. He’s working hard. He’s still working hard, doing everything he’s supposed to do, and that’s him. We like that.”

Smith, who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent during the offseason, hasn’t played since Week 13 due to a neck injury. He was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, so Kansas City could be starting rookie Wanya Morris at tackle on Christmas Day. As far as Jones is concerned, this is the second practice in a row he’s missed with an illness. He’s primarily a special teams contributor for the Chiefs, logging just two defensive snaps but 225 special teams reps in his rookie year thus far.