KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs could be getting injured linebacker Nick Bolton back just in time after they lost his replacement, Drue Tranquill, and several other key players to injuries during last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Tranquill was still in the concussion protocol on Wednesday, when the Chiefs resumed preparation for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.
But coach Andy Reid said that Bolton would continue to practice after they opened the 21-day window in which they must decide whether to activate him or put him on season-ending injured reserve.
Bolton has been out since having surgery for a dislocated wrist sustained during a Week 7 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Nick is a great player, a significant impact player,” Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna said. “Just having his presence back there is going to be huge for us.”
The Chiefs also lost starting safety Bryan Cook to what appeared to be a significant ankle injury in Green Bay, though most of the tests on it have revealed encouraging results. Reid called it “a sprain” and said that he was still being evaluated.
Mike Edwards and rookie Chamarri Conner are likely to replace Cook in the lineup.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Chiefs are preparing to play without left tackle Donovan Smith because of a neck stinger, and they are unsure whether running back Isiah Pacheco will be available because of a bruised shoulder.
Pacheco ran 18 times for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. If he is unable to play against the Bills, the Chiefs would lean on Clyde Edwards-Helaire and potentially Jerick McKinnon, who returned to practice Wednesday after a groin injury.
Wanya Morris, a third-round pick in April's draft, played well in Smith's place against the Packers. He had been earning a few spot reps even before the injury, and that left him prepared to take over when Smith had to leave the game.
“Your preparation should never change,” Morris said Wednesday. “I just have to make sure I'm focused on the details.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes certainly has faith in his backup blindside protector.
“He's played well. If you watch the tape, he's done a great job in the run game and the pass game,” Mahomes said, “and I think now it's about getting him prepared for a great defensive line. As far as playing the position, he's done a good job.”
NOTES: Mahomes was chosen as the Chiefs' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award this week. “It's amazing, the group and fraternity of guys that have come before me that have won that award,” he said. “It's got to be hard to pick. There's so many guys that do so much for the community. I'm just glad I was able to be honored in that group.”
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