When Could Chiefs Cornerback Charvarius Ward Return?
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward suffered a fractured hand in the Chiefs' season-opening game against the Houston Texans on Thursday. Now, with a few extra days to prepare for the Chiefs' second game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Ward reportedly has a chance to return without missing any games.
Nate Taylor of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Ward "is doing well & has a chance to play in Sunday’s game, per multiple sources." Taylor also notes that Ward's participation in practice this week "will be critical" to Ward's ability to play against the Chargers on Sunday.
Later in the day, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Ward would not practice on Wednesday but noted that Ward is progressing. Ward was reportedly scheduled to have surgery to repair his broken hand shortly after Thursday's game.
Ward's quick return would be excellent for the Chiefs' defensive backfield, with fellow starting outside cornerback Bashaud Breeland in the midst of his four-game suspension. Rookie cornerback L'Jarius Sneed started in Breeland's absence on Thursday, with offseason addition Antonio Hamilton starting in the slot. After Ward's injury, second-year corner Rashad Fenton stepped in for the defense.
In my view, Ward is the Chiefs' best corner, narrowly edging out Breeland. Sneed's excellent debut is certainly encouraging, but seeing the defense have to hold serve without Ward or Breeland is a bit of a scary proposition.
On the plus-side, with help from Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill at safety on Sunday against the Chargers, the Chiefs should be able to keep their head above water against LA.
The worst-case scenario would be Ward returning too early and re-injuring his hand or slowing his full recovery, especially with the Baltimore Ravens on the horizon in Week 3. If the Chiefs and their training staff believe that Ward can return without endangering his future, they'd be best-off having him on the field whenever possible.