Chiefs vs Saints: Five key players ruled out of preseason opener

Andy Reid announced some notable players will miss the Kansas City Chiefs preseason opener.

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The 2023 preseason starts for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday as they face off against the New Orleans Saints. The Chiefs will not be at 100%, as head coach Andy Reid disclosed on Friday's press availability.

Top running back Isiah Pacheco, tight end Jody Fortson, wide receiver Kadarius Toney, defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed will not play in New Orleans, according to Reid. All players are dealing with various injuries that have hampered or kept them out of training camp altogether.

Reid did not name defensive tackle Chris Jones in the rundown, but his appearance against the Saints is highly unlikely. The star defender's holdout continues as his total fines from this offseason surpass $1 million.

Andy Reid announced some notable players will miss the Kansas City Chiefs preseason opener.

Fortson and Pacheco missing the preseason opener are not that surprising. Fortson hasn't practiced in weeks after a shoulder injury early on in training camp, and Pacheco has been in a non-contact jersey as he continues to recover. Wharton's absence is disappointing, after returning to action on Aug. 2. He is still recovering from a torn ACL he sustained last season against the Las Vegas Raiders. He had slowly ramped his workload back up but then missed Friday's practice for an undisclosed reason.

The Sneed injury continues to grow more and more concerning. Preseason reps are not an end-all, but this swollen knee has kept Sneed sidelined all summer. The knee was a problem as far back as the Super Bowl when Sneed appeared on the injury report. The Chiefs are very deep at defensive back, but Sneed is still the team's top option and a key cog in Steve Spagnuolo's defensive machine. If this knee problem continues into the regular season, that will be a huge blow to the Chiefs' defense.

The absences open up more opportunities for players deeper down the depth chart, both on offense and on defense. That is a saving grace, but these players recovering ahead of the regular season has to be a top team priority before the Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions.