The Kansas City Chiefs welcomed back veteran safety Daniel Sorensen to the roster this week, using their first of two allotted activations from injured reserve on the season. Sorensen suffered a tibial plateau fractured in his left knee during Chiefs training camp but has since recovered and appears to be ready to go.
Wednesday marked Sorensen’s first practice as a member of the Chiefs’ active roster since camp, even though he had already been practicing with the team for two weeks.
“Dan has been out there running around the last couple weeks,” head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “He has done well with it. We will just see. We will see how he goes. We will see how he does during practice here.”
According to the Chiefs’ official injury report, Sorensen had limited participation. Reid said the Chiefs will use the three practices this week to determine how much Sorensen can play against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
“It is good to have him back out there in whatever capacity he can go at,” Reid added. “I don’t know how much he can play or not play right now. We are looking at it just like you are looking at it. We are just seeing where he is at.”
One of the things NFL players and coaches will tell you during training camp in the summer is that a major aspect of the workouts is getting into football shape. While the gym provides a means of staying conditioned, there is no match for on-field drills.
That is why the NFL builds in a three-week buffer when a player is returning from injured reserve.
“Practicing these last two weeks has been huge as far as conditioning and just being around some bodies moving in different directions and things like that,” Sorensen said. “You can’t simulate everything that’s going to happen in a game, but being out there and getting out there this week possibly could help with that conditioning.”
While not ideal, missing the first nine games of the NFL season does have its advantages.
Off the field, Sorensen still attended meetings and walkthroughs and had the opportunity to interact with his teammates. He said the time spent away from game film allowed him to study and improve upon some personal things.
Sorensen also admitted Wednesday that there is a clear advantage to having fresh legs with seven games to play. That said, if Sorensen does play against the Cardinals, it sounds like it might be with simple goals in mind.
“If it is that I get out there, [my goal is] to just get comfortable being back out there,” he explained. “Being able to have confidence with contact—something that you can’t simulate with the rehab and things like that. That’s kind of my goal—to regain some confidence.”
No matter his role Sunday, Sorensen is just the first piece in what the Chiefs hope to be an improved defense as the next few weeks roll along. The preseason plan called for Sorensen and Eric Berry to start at the safety positions, with Justin Houston, who has missed the last four weeks due to a hamstring injury, to start at the left outside linebacker position.
In the trio’s absence, linebackers Dee Ford and Breeland Speaks, as well as safeties Ron Parker, Eric Murray and Jordan Lucas have done an ample job filling the void.
But Sorensen said the idea of a complete defense—now that is something to get excited about.
“I think that’s a very real thing,” he said. “I’ve certainly thought about it and as we’re pushing toward the second half of the season and down the stretch, that’s going to be key, it’s going to be huge.
“The more bodies we can get back and can get healthy, the better I think we can be.”