The Kansas City Chiefs lost themselves a couple of meaningful role players on Tuesday for the majority of December with the news that both running back Jerick McKinnon and defensive lineman Khalen Saunders had been placed on injured reserve.
The Chiefs came into the day needing to make a couple roster moves coming out of the bye with offensive lineman Kyle Long eligible to be activated from the practice window that ran for three weeks following his removal from the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP).
Looking at each injury, McKinnon’s placement on IR means that he’s going to need considerable time to heal from a hamstring injury that occurred during the team’s win over the Dallas Cowboys. Even after a bye week, McKinnon was still not ready and the only real timetable for everyone to be healthy at this stage should be focused on the offseason.
The Chiefs lost two meaningful role players to injured reserve on Tuesday.
The good news is that the Chiefs were holding onto Derrick Gore on the active roster for this very reason and the return of Clyde Edwards-Helaire in recent weeks means they are still three-deep at the position with productive players at every level in CEH, Darrel Williams, and Gore.
As for Saunders, he’d been inactive due to a knee injury that has plagued him throughout the season and he hasn’t played an official snap since Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans. Before that point, Saunders looked like he’d turned a corner this year in his third season, especially after an injury-riddled sophomore year in which he missed nearly half the season with an early elbow injury.
Behind him, the Chiefs are pretty deep at defensive tackle due to the presence of Derrick Nnadi, Chris Jones, Jarran Reed, and Turk Wharton. it might be interesting, however, to see if K.C. shows some interest in activating Cortez Broughton from the practice squad or not.
Given their IR placements, the earliest that either player could return to the team’s active roster would be before the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 26.