Reid doubts Hardman will make Super Bowl, others miss practice with injury

Houston Texans cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (28) tackles Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver...
Houston Texans cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (28) tackles Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) (KY3)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 3:16 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs sustained a number of other injuries during their 23-20 win over the Bengals. They lost three wide receivers — Mecole Hardman reinjured his pelvis, JuJu Smith-Schuster had swelling in his knee and Kadarius Toney sprained his ankle — while cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was in the concussion protocol and Willie Gay Jr. hurt his shoulder.

Gay was the only one that returned to practice on an unseasonably mild February day in Kansas City.

Coach Andy Reid did say that Toney did the morning walk-through and “he’s close and doing well,” while Smith-Schuster “is in a good place. The main thing is we let that calm down. We’re very optimistic right now.”

The news wasn’t as positive for Hardman, who first hurt his abdominal area in November. The Chiefs later began to classify it as a pelvis injury as Hardman neared his return from injured reserve, but he wasn’t able to make it back onto the field until the AFC title game. He was hurt while getting wrapped up after a catch and did not return.

“Very courageous effort,” Reid said, “and my heart goes out to the kid. He is hurting today. I doubt he’ll make the Super Bowl.”

While the Chiefs remained thin at wide receiver, they did have Justin Watson back on the practice field. He was ruled out before kickoff against Cincinnati with an illness, forcing Marcus Kemp to come up from the practice squad.

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The Chiefs also are hopeful that Sneed will clear the concussion protocol in the two weeks between games.

In a defense featuring three rookie cornerbacks and a rookie safety, Sneed is often tasked with covering the opposition’s best wide receiver. It would have been Ja’Marr Chase against the Bengals, but Sneed was hurt on the game’s fourth play and did not return; it will likely be A.J. Brown or DeVonta Smith if he can play against the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

Reid also said there’s a possibility Clyde Edwards-Helaire, their 2020 first-round pick, will be activated for the big game. Edwards-Helaire had already ceded the No. 1 running back job to rookie Isiah Pacheco before a high ankle sprain landed him on injured reserve in late November, but his versatility could be helpful against a tough Eagles defense.

“He’ll practice. We’ll see where he’s at,” Reid said. “We’re just taking it day by day, seeking out how he’s feeling, not only during practice but after practice. He’ll work today.”

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