KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jamaal Charles in this respect is just like most Chiefs fans. He’s curious exactly when he will play in a game and how effective he can be after his latest injury, a strained right foot.
“I told (trainer Rick Burkholder) that I can’t just be waiting and waiting and waiting,’’ said Charles, who injured his foot in practice last Monday. “I’ve got to get the reps and continue to see how I feel, whether it’s getting better or worse.’’
Charles practiced with the Chiefs Sunday for the first time since the injury and moved around well. He repeated what coach Andy Reid had earlier said, that the decision on whether Charles would play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh would be made late in the week.
Charles didn’t play in last week’s game against San Francisco at Arrowhead Stadium. If it’s possible, the Chiefs would like to get Charles some work against the Steelers or in the final preseason game on Aug. 29 against Green Bay at Arrowhead or both.
“It’s crucial because everything is new from the quarterback to the offensive philosophy and structure,’’ coordinator Doug Pederson said. “You need your starters together as often as possible. It’s going to be good to get him back out here this week at practice and around Alex (Smith) and around the guys and understanding what we’re trying to get done.’’
But the Chiefs won’t push Charles, who admitted to being confused by his latest injury.
“Playing in the NFL you get weird injuries,’’ Charles said. “This is one of the weird injuries I’ve had. It started in my foot and it travelled all the way to the top of my foot and now it’s stuck in the middle of my right leg.
“I’m getting my treatment so I can be right.’’
With Charles in their lineup in the opening preseason game in New Orleans, the Chiefs drove 80 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown, which was scored by Charles. Without Charles, the Chiefs didn’t score an offensive touchdown against the 49ers.
Rookie Knile Davis started in place of Charles. Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn also played.
“You miss him,’’ Pederson said. “You miss your starters when they can’t play or practice. But it gave the younger guys an opportunity to get some reps in the football game and especially Knile to get some valuable experience, especially starting a football game in the National Football League.
“It will be good to get Jamaal back out this week and get him ready to go this weekend.’’
Davis rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries and converted a fourth-down run with a nifty spin move. He also caught three passes for 31 yards.
“He’s going to be a good back,’’ Pederson said. “We’ve thrown a bunch at him. He’s done a good job. He’s blown a few assignments but that’s sort of natural at this point because we’ve thrown so much at these young guys. But he’s handled it well.’’
But Davis, like the other running backs, had trouble with pass protection.
“Young guys right now are still thinking about plays and protections and (mistakes are) going to happen,’’ Pederson said. “Now is the time if it’s going to happen so we can see it on film and make the right corrections and get ready for the next week. That’s why you play these preseason games.’’
If Charles’ absence from the game lineup is extended, Davis will continue to be the lead back. So the Chiefs need him to grow in a hurry and be more like Charles.
“The thing I see that Jamaal does when he’s running the ball is have good patience,’’ Davis said. “Maybe if I had a little more patience on that fourth and short I may have broken it. That’s the difference between a vet and a rookie. He just has that patience that I’m going to learn over time.’’