As wide receiver Kadarius Toney wore his red Chiefs No. 19 jersey at practice for the first time on Wednesday, the Chiefs also welcomed a familiar face back: offensive lineman Lucas Niang, who has spent the first eight weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after rupturing his patella tendon last season.
“Niang worked hard,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “He’s back in... we’ll see how he does. These guys that come back off these long stints off, we’ll see how they do on the field before we throw them in there.”
Niang practicing opens up a 21-day window in which the Chiefs need to activate him to the 53-man roster. Otherwise, his season will be over. That 21-day window just ended for cornerback Trent McDuffie, who was activated on Tuesday.
“We try to keep open communication with these guys and see what their feeling,” said Reid of McDuffie. “And the coaches know them — see what the coach sees, talk with the player, see how he feels and then obviously, our medical staff and trainers. When it was all said and done, we just said, ‘You know what? He needs a little bit more time.’”
Two Chiefs who won’t be on the practice field are tight end Jody Fortson (quad) and defensive end Frank Clark, who begins his two-game suspension on Sunday. He will also miss the Chiefs’ following game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As Clark leaves the facility for the week, Reid said he simply advised him to stay in shape.
“He’s gone through the other process — the law enforcement process,” said Reid. “[Clark will] be out a week and then he’s back, but he’ll do the right things. Obviously, he’s a good player. You’ll miss that, but it gives other guys opportunities to step up, which our guys do.”
Those players include defensive end Mike Danna, who the Chiefs hope to have back at full strength after he missed four of the last five games with a calf injury. Tight end Blake Bell — whom the Chiefs could use with Fortson ailing — remains on the injured reserve list stemming from preseason hip surgery.
“Blake’s close,” said Reid. “He’s close. We’ll just see how he does here in the next week or two. [We’ll] see where we’re at. But he’s back.”