Injuries aren't an excuse. We know that. But it's hard not to wonder what could have been if the Chiefs on Saturday against the Colts didn't lose their leading RB, second leading RB, leading WR, third-leading WR, No. 1 CB and No. 1 pass rusher.
Would Jamaal Charles have broken a few big ones? Would Knile Davis have caught the pass Alex Smith overthrew Cyrus Gray? Would Brandon Flowers have stopped TY Hilton on the last TD? Would Justin Houston have sacked Andrew Luck on that play?
Unfortunately, we'll never know.
We don't know much about these injuries except for Justin Houston. He went down on the play before Andrew Luck hit TY Hilton for the game-winning TD. And, luckily, it is not serious.
Chiefs LB Justin Houston dodged serious injury. PCL strain and bone bruise. No ACL. No surgery. Good news for a guy looking to get paid.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 5, 2014
There aren't any games for a while so these Chiefs have plenty of time to get right in the offseason.
Just so we have it all in one place for future reference, here's a list of the players injured in the Chiefs loss to the Colts.
Note: These are just the players who did not return. Others were injured and returned (Junior Hemingway).
RB Jamaal Charles (concussion)
Charles went down on the game's sixth play. A seemingly innocuous rush to the right for seven yards ended with the Chiefs losing their best player. Charles' head banged against the turf on the tackle and he stayed down on the ground. Chiefs trainers came out, took him to the sideline, put him through concussion protocol and then brought him to the locker room. The Chiefs would play the remaining 48:20 in the game without their MVP candidate.
Charles led the Chiefs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
WR Donnie Avery (concussion)
I'm not sure exactly when his injury occurred, but he was done in the first half. His last target came with just over two minutes left in the first half. Avery, who is the Chiefs only deep play threat, caught a 79-yard pass earlier in the day.
He is the Chiefs third leading receiver and fulfills the specific role of the field-stretcher.
CB Brandon Flowers (concussion)
Flowers was hurt midway through the third quarter on a Donald Brown touchdown. His neck / head appeared to collide with a teammate. He stayed on the ground as Chiefs trainers came out to tend to him. He did not return. Flowers had an interception already on the day so he was making an impact.
TY Hilton was going to go off no matter who was covering, it was that type of day, but losing Flowers helped him with his 13 receptions for over 200 yards.
Hurts to lose your No. 1 corner.
RB Knile Davis (knee)
Davis, who was replacing Charles, who was injured, was injured in the fourth quarter with 9:57 left. The Chiefs, who needed to run the clock out, had now lost their top two running backs. Davis was playing well enough to give the Chiefs a shot but his loss hurt. Cyrus Gray is the third running back and, as we saw on Alex Smith's overthrow to him shortly after that, he doesn't get a lot of reps with the first time. He's not out there running Jamaal's routes in practice. That overthrow, by the way, was just a few feet ahead of Gray, probably about where Jamaal would have been had he been running the route.
LB Justin Houston (lower body)
This came with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter. Houston was spotted on crutches after the game but, as noted above, he escaped serious injury.
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