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Injured Chiefs on-pace for training camp return

Posted Feb 25, 2012

Chiefs eye running backs at NFL Combine while Jamaal Charles recovers from knee surgery

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Chiefs accumulation of left ACL injuries are progressing as scheduled.

All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki are each on pace to make a full football return by this summer’s training camp according to Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.

“They are not on the same schedules, but it’s similar,” Pioli said. “They happened around the same times. We expect and hope that (the return) will be around the same time, but bodies respond differently.

“We’re hoping (for full-go at the start of camp), but there is so much time between now and then. They are on schedule right now and that schedule would take them in that direction.”

The three play-makers each tore their left ACL’s within three weeks of one another – Moeaki in the preseason finale, Berry in the season opener and Charles in Week Two. But even with the evolution of medical advancement, it can still take players up to nine months before they’re ready to make an on-field return.

Each of the three players will have had more than 10 months of rehab by the time training camp begins in late July.

“There are some examples of guys who take longer and it’s not necessarily skill position guys versus big guys anymore, it’s different for each individual,” Pioli said. “But everyone is currently on schedule.”

Regardless of the positive progress reports, the Chiefs could be looking for free agent or rookie help at running back, safety and tight end.

Each of the three positions were challenged with depth issues following last season’s early rash of injuries and many of the veterans whose play-time increased are scheduled to become free agents.

The Chiefs cast of running backs will likely feature one or more new faces next season with Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle and Le’Ron McClain each set to hit unrestricted free agency on March 13th.

“I’m a firm believer that even when you have good starters – and Jamaal is a very good starter and is hopefully going to come back healthy from the injury this year – that you can never have enough good players and/or depth,” Pioli said. “Whether we address it in this draft or in free agency, I think it will be about where opportunity meets our needs.”

Pioli also said that Matt Cassel is progressing nicely from a season-ending hand injury suffered in mid-November.

“I don’t know if he’s at 100%, but I know that he’s been throwing well,” Pioli said. “He was throwing right as the season ended for us. I haven’t actually seen him since to know if he’s at 100%, but I know that he’s doing better.”

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