Berry missed practice on Friday, December 28, before he was eventually held out of the Chiefs’ final game of the season against the Oakland Raiders. Berry practiced limitedly to start this week on Tuesday, which many felt was a good sign, but he could not participate on Wednesday as he deals with his lingering heel injury.
“It’s difficult from the standpoint of he’s a real critical part of our team,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said when asked about the uncertainty surrounding the three-time All-Pro. “He’s an outstanding player. He’s one of our true leaders, the guys rally around him, so I think that part is always hard. You get caught up in different things in the season. But also, if you stick back for a second, you say, ‘Man, this is really hard on this guy, too, as a player. This is something he loves to do. He’s been really good at it, and as difficult as it is on us as a defensive unit or us as a team, I think for him, it’s really challenging.’
“So it’s just what it is. There’s not a lot you can do about it, and every week we’ve got our fingers crossed and hope that he can make it back and go. It’s truly—I know you guys get tired of hearing this—it really is a day to day to day thing here right now, the way it’s playing out. You just got to stay in there and go and figure out how to get other guys ready in case he can’t go.”
Berry was originally held out of the Chiefs’ first 13 games with what the team described as a sore heel, though reports, which have never been confirmed (nor denied) said Berry has what is called a “Haglund’s deformity.”
Berry eventually returned to the lineup to play 30 snaps Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers and played 69 snaps Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks before what has appeared to be some sort of setback.
Sutton was asked Wednesday about who would replace Berry and linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, who hasn’t practiced at all this week, if they couldn’t play against the Colts.
“I wouldn’t tell you,” he initially said with a smile. “We have to work guys in, obviously, and just see where guys are. The one good thing is you’re at the point of the season where if you do have to miss some reps and you get better toward to the end of the week, this is probably the time to do it. We just have to kind of roll guys through, which we try to do, anyway, but when you have a guy in question, you have to say, ‘OK,’ because that usually affects somebody else.
“Sometimes that affects special teams ... It’s going to affect Dave (Toub) and what he’s putting together, so you got to kind of stay on top of that as a total staff, too. But we just got to slide and we’ve got some different options, but we kind of have to wait and see where it’s at.”
Without Berry in a must-win game against the Raiders when it came to playoff home-field advantage, the safety snap count breakdown was as follows: Daniel Sorensen (63), Eric Murray (33), Jordan Lucas (32) and Ron Parker (6).
In the above breakdown, it is important to note that Sorensen and Lucas earned the start. Lucas suffered a stinger, and the Chiefs eventually removed starters in a 35-3 blowout.
It remains to be seen who the Chiefs start against the Colts if Berry cannot play once again.