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Andy Reid lists 5 key Chiefs players out of practice

Kansas City may be using a new kick returner against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

As the Kansas City Chiefs began their preparation for Sunday’s Week 3 matchup with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday, they did so without five key players. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid provided the lengthy injury list at the beginning of his media appearance.

Wide receiver and returner Richie James is dealing with an MCL issue, running back Isiah Pacheco has a hamstring contusion and wide receiver Kadarius Toney has a sprained toe. Linebackers Nick Bolton (sprained ankle) and Willie Gay Jr. (quad contusion) participated in the walkthrough but were being held back from practicing.

Both Pacheco and Gay were spotted at practice without helmets during the brief media look. Tight end Travis Kelce — who missed Week 1 with a knee hyperextension and bone bruise — could be seen warming up without any compression sleeve or brace on his knee.

Reid confirmed that all the listed players are considered “day-to-day” — except James, who the team fears may be out for the long haul. If that were to be the case, wide receiver Justin Watson is a candidate to replace him.

“I’m always ready to go,” said Watson in the locker room. “Whatever they ask me to do — whether it’s returning punts or playing on special teams. I told coach [Dave] Toub that I’d be excited to go back there. It will be up to him to make that decision.”

When Toub needed to relieve Skyy Moore from his return duties in 2022 due to a fumbling issue, Watson recorded five punt returns for 39 yards (7.8 per return).

“It’s just football, just being ready to go and being ready to pick up your teammate,” recalled Watson. “If we got to do that this week, hopefully Richie’s ready to go — and I have trust that he's going to heal quickly — but we’re ready to go with whatever we have to do.”

Toub is due to make his weekly media appearance on Thursday, when he is expected to provide greater clarity. Watson currently has five catches for 107 yards on the season.

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