Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman suffered a heel injury during Week 2’s 27-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Though Hardman was able to finish the game — and has appeared in the next two contests — the injury has appeared to negatively impact his play.
Speaking before Thursday’s practice — in which he was listed as a full participant — Hardman confirmed that even though he has been able to play through it, the injury is affecting him.
“It’s going good,” he said of his season in general. “[I’m] just trying to get healthy for real — a little banged-up from the Chargers game still. But [I’m] just trying to get healthy and just doing what I can do to help the team the best way that I can.”
Most players with Hardman’s speed often deal with minor injuries, but the fourth-year receiver’s current ailment is a new one.
“It’s some injury I’ve never dealt with before,” he noted. “But [I’m] taking the right necessary steps to get back fully healthy — and get back [to] running full speed.”
Hardman also knows that he is fortunate the injury was not worse — particularly given how dire it first appeared to be.
“I didn’t know it looked that bad, honestly, until I watched the film,” he recalled. “It looked crazy watching it. Luckily it was just the heel — definitely an injury you can play through. Happy it was just that.”
According to Hardman, the pain is present — but manageable.
“It’s like more of a you-can’t-do-everything-you-want-to-do-type thing,” he explained. “It’s a pain you can tolerate as far as cutting or going full speed or even stopping. It’s just something you have to work at and treat daily to get that right. It’s nothing too crazy.”
Though he has now appeared on his seventh consecutive injury report, Hardman believes he is close to putting the issue behind him.
“I think I’m right there, honestly,” he declared. “It’s going on the third week — I think today is the third week, actually. I don’t think it’s lingering — or will linger. I never really had this injury before to tell you if it lingers around. But I’m close to being out of the training room and being back to 100%.”
Through four games, Hardman has only caught eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. As the speedster recovers his health, his quarterback anticipates that will change.
“I think he’ll become more involved,” predicted Patrick Mahomes during his own Thursday media remarks. “I think he’s got to get more and more healthy. I think you saw in the first few weeks he was having some good plays and making some stuff happen.
“He got a little banged-up — and he hasn’t had that same production these last two. But I think as he gets more and more healthy, he’ll continue to be involved in this offense. He’s got special talent [and] special speed. And we have a lot of different guys in that receiving room, but I expect all of them to be involved throughout this entire season.”
As he tries to tough his way through his heel pain for a third straight week, Hardman knows that even with a new coaching staff, the Las Vegas Raiders’ secondary — led by physical safety Jonathan Abram — will not make it easy on him during Monday Night Football.
“I think they are led by two-four [Abram],” he observed. “They’re a group of guys that are going to get after the ball — [and] that’s going to challenge you every single play.
“We’ve got to get ready [and] we’ve got to get in on the run game. Get ready to block them guys and just make plays whenever we’ve got the chance to. They’re definitely a good group of guys — and we’re going to look forward to playing them.”