It's only Week 3 and already the Kansas City Chiefs are so banged up they've had to alter their practice schedule.
The Chiefs were planning to practice in pads Wednesday, but coach Romeo Crennel said he would push that back a day to give a lengthy list of players an extra day to heal. Teams are only allowed to practice in pads once per week under terms of the collective-bargaining agreement.
Tight end Kevin Boss could be out for several more days after taking a blow to the head in Sunday's 35-17 loss to Buffalo, while fellow tight end Jake O'Connell (knee) and offensive lineman Ryan Lilja (back) were also held out of practice Wednesday.
Defensive linemen Anthony Toribio and Allen Bailey have ankle injuries, wide receiver Devon Wylie and cornerback Jalil Brown have groin problems, wide receiver Dexter McCluster and safety Kendrick Lewis have ailing shoulders, and wide receiver Steve Breaston jammed his wrist.
That's seven players who were limited in practice along with three who were out.
"So as a result of the injuries, I'm not going to be in pads today, I'm going to hold it off until tomorrow to go in pads to give these guys a chance to recover a little bit and get back," Crennel said. "But we're preparing and getting ready to go down to New Orleans to play a team who is similar to us really — both teams are struggling — so we'll see if we can improve some."
Perhaps the only bit of positive news had to do with running back Jamaal Charles, who banged up his reconstructed left knee against Buffalo. Charles said he wanted to keep playing in the game, but the coaching staff forced him to sit, and he wound up with six carries for three yards.
"He fell on his knee, got bruised, came up limping and so we took him out rather than leave him in there and expose him a little bit more," Crennel said. "And then as it developed, the other players were doing decent so we didn't feel the need to put him back in at that moment."
Charles said Wednesday that he was a bit sore but expects to play against the Saints.
"I don't want to worry about my knee too much. I just want to play football," he said. "It's just how you prepare, how you stay fresh and prepare your body. I'm fine though."
Charles was among three key players who tore the ACL in their left knees in successive weeks early last season. Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki also are back from their injuries, but neither of them has made the same kind of impact they made as rookies.
That's left Crennel to wonder whether they'll ever be the same again.
"All of those guys are playing and producing. They're practicing. So they are good enough to play," Crennel said. "Whether they'll ever be back to what they used to be, I don't know if that's going to be the case, because you've had some reconstruction on your knee.
"Will it ever be like it was before the reconstruction? I don't know if that will be the case, but that does not keep guys from playing this game."