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Chiefs Place WR Mecole Hardman on Injured Reserve

Kansas City's speedy wideout will now miss at least the club's next four games.

The Kansas City Chiefs were without wide receiver Mecole Hardman for their Week 10 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they're now slated to be missing him for at least the next four games. Per the team's official announcement on Twitter, Hardman is going on the reserve/injured list as of Thursday. 

On Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid took the podium and said that Hardman "has an illness to the abdomen," while adding "he's getting better but not back yet." The injury held him out of practice all of last week and ultimately rendered him inactive. Now, the fourth-year receiver is now slated to miss contests against the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos in consecutive weeks. Once four weeks pass, Hardman is eligible to come off the injured reserve list and potentially be activated for game action.

In Hardman's absence against Jacksonville, it was a different type of effort for the Chiefs' wide receiver room. JuJu Smith-Schuster had an early exit due to suffering a concussion, rookie Skyy Moore wasn't very effective in the snaps he did play and veteran Justin Watson had just one catch on the afternoon. A lot of the impact came from newcomer Kadarius Toney, who hauled in four passes on five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown while also adding 33 rushing yards on the ground. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was another standout contributor, offering three receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown of his own.

What's next for the Chiefs and Hardman?

On Hardman's side of things, the hope for him is that he can return after his minimum of four weeks on IR. According to Matt Verderame of FanSided, the injury is not believed to be season-ending. If true, that paves the way for Hardman to get multiple games under his belt before the end of the 2022 regular season and a Chiefs playoff run should they qualify.

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In terms of who could benefit on the field from Hardman's extended absence, the duo of Moore and Toney is (again) the one to look at. Moore's athleticism and ability to gain separation against man coverage, in theory, make him a candidate to possibly receive more snaps. Toney, on the other hand, was fantastic in Week 10 and can do a lot of the same things Hardman has done for the Chiefs on offense. Additionally, the 2021 first-round pick excels in other areas and could be in for a serious role if Kansas City believes he's ready for it.

Per the Chiefs, Smith-Schuster missed practice again on Thursday. Valdes-Scantling, after missing Wednesday's practice, returned but was a limited participant. If Kansas City heads into Sunday Night Football against the Chargers shorthanded at wide receiver, the pressure will be placed on the combination of Reid, Patrick Mahomes and his replacement receivers to step up and get the job done in a pivotal AFC West battle. 

Read More: Chiefs Made Multiple Attempts to Add Players on Waivers in Week 11