Wednesday, September 8 is the first time during the 2021 regular season that the Kansas City Chiefs released an injury report. And while most of the names on the report we knew about thanks to head coach Andy Reid’s pressers, there is one name that stood out among the rest due to his limited participation in Wednesday’s practice: Mecole Hardman.
Hardman, 7 Others Listed
Hardman was listed on Wednesday’s report with an oblique injury, per the Chiefs’ website. The third-year wideout’s injury is the most notable among the rest because he is expected to be a prominent part of the offense this season, potentially taking over as the No. 2 wideout opposite of Tyreek Hill. His absence from the regular-season opener would cause a potential shift in the game script for offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy.
UPDATE — Mecole Hardman was listed as a full participant on the Chiefs’ Thursday injury report.
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The lone Chiefs player that did not participate in practice was offensive lineman Austin Blythe (abdomen), who is recovering from sports hernia surgery. The other players limited in practice were defensive end Frank Clark (hamstring) and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (hip). Those listed with injuries but were full participants were offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (hand), running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), offensive tackle Mike Remmers (knee), and offensive guard Trey Smith (shoulder).
Nnadi being a limited participant in practice is also worth noting, as he will be a prominent player along Kansas City’s defensive line this season and was not mentioned by Reid as being injured.
Another name listed on the injury report that Reid did not mention during his pressers this week or last week was Smith, who was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft and will be the team’s starting right guard in Week 1. The good news, however, is he was a full participant in practice despite dealing with some sort of shoulder ailment.
Clark, Duvernay-Tardif, Edwards-Helaire, and Remmers are all listed with injuries they suffered during the preseason. However, based on remarks made by Reid and the second-year back this week, Clark and Edwards-Helaire — who will be prominent parts of the gameplan Sunday — will be ready to go for the season opener, along with Duvernay-Tardif and Remmers.
Browns Injury Report
As for the Cleveland Browns — who is the Chiefs’ Week 1 opponent –, there were some very notable names on the team’s first injury report of the season.
Those who did not participate in Wednesday’s Browns practice were defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (illness) and offensive guard Michael Dunn (back). Those limited in practice were wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee), safety Grant Delpit (hamstring), safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Rashad Higgins (hamstring), cornerback Troy Hill (hamstring), linebacker Sione Takitaki (hamstring), center JC Tretter (knee), and cornerback Greedy Williams (groin), per the official injury report.
What This Means
The first injury report of the week should always be taken with a grain of salt. If the injured player is a full participant in practice, then keep an eye on Thursday and Friday’s injury reports to see if they are downgraded at all in terms of practice participation and/or game status. If the player is limited, the hope is that they can upgrade to being a full participant at practice, or they can remain limited and may still be healthy enough for coaches to feel they can play in the ensuing game. If the player did not practice — which is obviously the most notable status on an injury report — then closely examine if that player registers any practice participation during the week. If they don’t, then that player will likely be out for the ensuing game.
Luckily for the Chiefs, the one player that did not practice Wednesday — Blythe — isn’t a starter along the offensive line. So his game status will not largely impact Kansas City’s game script on Sunday. As for Cleveland, Clowney being absent due to an illness is certainly notable. Tracking his participation in practice throughout the remainder of the week is definitely worth noting, as his absence from Sunday’s game would impact the battle in the trenches in favor of the Chiefs.
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