DETROIT – Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles was carted off the field midway through the first quarter Sunday with a left knee injury and will not return to the game.
Charles, who rushed for 1,467 yards last season, was lunging toward the first down mark along the Detroit sideline when he was pushed out of bounds by defensive back Chris Houston. He landed at the feet of Detroit's mascot and immediately began clutching his left leg.
His return was initially announced as questionable, but the injury appeared significant, and he was declared out for the rest of the game early in the third quarter.
It appeared Charles might have hurt himself while planting the leg as he went out of bounds — he seemed unwilling or unable to plant it again as he fell to the ground.
Charles also appeared unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped onto the cart.
The 24-year-old Charles has rushed for over 1,100 yards each of the last two seasons, and his injury was the latest bit of bad news already for Kansas City this season. The Chiefs, who won the AFC West last season, were routed 41-7 by Buffalo in their opener and trailed Detroit 20-3 at halftime.
Even with Charles sidelined, Kansas City was able to establish a solid running game early on against Detroit. The Chiefs rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries in the first half. Dexter McCluster had 36 yards on four carries and Thomas Jones had 25 yards on seven carries.
Those two may have to handle more of the load if Charles is out for an extended period of time. Jones actually had more carries than Charles last season and rushed for 896 yards.