Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire made one appearance on the practice field last week before missing the last two days of on-field work.
The end result was a third straight missed game because of a shoulder injury that Edwards-Helaire suffered in Week 16.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, however, remains optimistic that the second-year pro could return to practice soon despite last week’s setback.
“I thought he would be able to do more last week, so I’m just curious to see,” Reid said Monday. “I think he almost has to get out on the field and feel that, see where he’s at.
“But I think he thought he could do more last week, too. It just didn’t work out that way.”
The Chiefs had to adjust even more in the backfield Sunday night because Edwards-Helaire’s immediate backup, Darrel Williams, was limited with a toe injury.
Reid said Williams, who was a limited participant throughout last week’s practices, experienced issues pushing off with the toe. It showed on the field, as Williams recorded just one carry for 4 yards on eight snaps in Sunday night’s 42-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But the Chiefs didn’t miss a beat in the rushing game because Jerick McKinnon stepped up. He totaled 142 yards (61 rushing) with a touchdown as the Chiefs won and advanced to the AFC Divisional Round.
As a team, the Chiefs pounded out 106 yards on 22 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per attempt against the Steelers.
Whether McKinnon remains the Chiefs’ primary rusher against the Buffalo Bills will depend greatly on the health of Edwards-Helaire and Williams. The Chiefs have three practices this week to continue evaluating their respective progress.
For now, the Chiefs certainly seem to have a wealth of backfield options for the rest of the playoffs.
“That’s a good problem to have,” Reid said. “We’ll just see how it all plays out.”
Reid also provided more information Monday about cornerback Rashad Fenton, who landed on Sunday’s pre-game injury report with a back injury.
According to Reid, Fenton’s back “locked up” just before the Chiefs were required to submit their weekly list of inactive players, so they decided to err on the side of caution.
“We had to sit him down,” Reid said.
Without Fenton, the Chiefs relied heavily on cornerback Mike Hughes in nickel packages alongside cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed. Hughes finished with two tackles playing on 59 of the team’s 67 defensive snaps.
The Chiefs return to the practice field Wednesday to get ready for Sunday evening’s game against the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.