When the Kansas City Chiefs kicked off practice on Wednesday, they were without both of their two top linebackers.
Damien Wilson has been dealing with a knee contusion for the past two weeks now and hasn’t yet returned to practice. He is at risk of missing his third consecutive game. On Tuesday, Chiefs’ MIKE linebacker Anthony Hitchens was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as a high-risk close contact. He’ll likely be unable to practice this week because of that.
Hitchens has been referred to by Steve Spagnuolo as the “glue guy” on defense. That’s in part because he wears the “green dot.” He’s the one who gets the defensive plays from Spags and gets everyone lined up where they need to be. Thankfully, the Chiefs are prepared for Hitchens’ potential absence because of how they prepare during the practice week.
“We always put [the green dot] on a couple of different guys, so we keep it that way and then go from there,” Reid said. “I think we’ll be alright with that if he can’t go.”
In the past, when Hitchens suffered a hand injury against the Las Vegas Raiders, it was Ben Niemann who took over and got the plays from the sideline. That’d likely be the case again this week if Hitchens is unable to play.
As for Wilson, it seems that they’re being extra precautions with his injury. Reid says he could probably play on Sunday without practicing this week, but he doesn’t seem to anticipate the need to rush him back out there before he’s ready.
“Well, he probably could, but right now the other guys are practicing and getting ready,” Reid said of Wilson. “We’ll just see how he progresses through the week. He’s another day to day guy, so he’s running around pretty good, but we’ll just see how he does.”
If Hitchens is cleared to return for the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of the game, you can expect him to play.
“Yeah, he could,” Reid said of Hitchens. “I’d tell you the same about Damien. Both of them are the same deal, they’re both real smart guys, if that were the case.”