KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t rule it out, but the signs are discouraging for running back Jamaal Charles to make his long-awaited return on Sunday against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium.
Coach Andy Reid said Charles would work predominantly with the scout team, the group of players that runs the offensive plays of the upcoming opponent for the benefit of the Chiefs’ defense.
“He’s improving by the day,’’ Reid said. “We’ll just keep him going and see how he does this week. He’s chomping at the bit wanting to play, which I love about him. I just want to make sure we’re good there when the time comes.
“I think the longer you can wait with him, the better it is, even though he probably thought he can play today or tomorrow. We’ll see how this week goes. Another week I think is going to help him.’’
Charles hasn’t played since tearing the ACL in his right knee last October in a game against the Chicago Bears. He returned to practice only late in training camp and has yet to reclaim even in practice the featured back role he had before the injury.
That role has, for the time being, been occupied by Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Combined, the two are averaging more than 6 yards per rushing attempt. Ware leads the Chiefs in receiving yardage.
“He’s a one-of-a-kind player, without a doubt,’’ quarterback Alex Smith said of Charles. “There aren’t many guys with his skill set and capabilities. Whenever he does come back, we’re going to be happy and lucky to get him back.
“With that said, I think the way our backs are playing, the way Spencer and Charcandrick are playing, it’s nice not to have that pressure to have to hurry him back when he’s not ready. In the run and pass game, those guys have been really, really dynamic and making plays for us. It’s nice for the organization, for the coaches, for Jamaal not to be getting pressured, that they can really make the right decision for him and his health."