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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs could fill out quite a roster using players on injured reserve.
Joe McKnight is the latest to make the list, rupturing an Achilles tendon in practice on Thursday. He's already the third Chiefs player to sustain a season-ending injury to an Achilles tendon, joining Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito.
Offensive tackle Jeff Allen is also on IR after hurting his biceps. Defensive tackle Mike Catapano is on the list after a lengthy illness. Wide receiver Kyle Williams, quarterback Tyler Bray, and safety Sanders Commings didn't even make it through training camp before landing on the list.
Throw in a few players who have been banged up, including Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry, and the Chiefs may have reached their limit of bad karma for the season.
"They always say, 'Two things you can't worry about are weather and injuries, because you can't control them,' " Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "It's one of those things."
McKnight has been plagued by injuries dating to his days at Southern California, and he never could stay healthy with the New York Jets. He spent last season out of the NFL entirely, but seemed to be catching his stride after enduring more physical hardships in training camp.
With Charles out of the lineup last week against Miami, McKnight stepped into the role of the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. He wound up with six receptions for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 34-15 win over the Dolphins.
Even with Charles expected to return Monday night against New England, McKnight had started to elbow his way into regular playing time, if nothing else than on special teams.
"We're really upset for him because he was a year-and-a-half without playing and coming out and having success, and doing a good job for me as a returner," Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said. "It's a shame. I feel bad for him."
The details of exactly how McKnight was injured are a bit sketchy.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said that quarterback Alex Smith was throwing him the ball in a man-coverage situation with a linebacker, and that it was a non-contact situation.
"It tugs at your heart a little bit because he did battle through not only an injury here, but an injury in New York and sitting out of football," Pederson said. "He's put in the time, put in the effort all the way back into our OTAs and our offseason program, and he was a guy who brought some energy to that room. He was electric and brought a whole other skill set that we were able to use."
Still, the Chiefs should be able to absorb McKnight's injury better than some of the others they have sustained. Charles is mostly recovered from a slight high ankle sprain, and Knile Davis just ran for 132 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. Cyrus Gray also figures into the mix, and rookie De'Anthony Thomas could finally play this week after dealing with a hamstring injury.
"It's fortunate that we still have depth at that position," Pederson said. "It gives, again, the opportunity for Knile to continue to improve and continue to get better and have another good game like he did this past weekend. Cyrus is in that same situation."
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