Latest injury update on Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman

There’s a new wrinkle in the Kansas City Chiefs’ plans surrounding the return of WR Mecole Hardman.

Hardman wasn’t spotted at practice on Thursday during the portion of practice open to the media according to multiple reporters in attendance. Earlier in the practice week, Chiefs HC Andy Reid spoke on Hardman’s status and why they didn’t bring him back for Week 16.

“So, as the week went on, he got a bit tired and sore,” Reid said of Hardman. “I think that was good. He worked his way through what he needed to get through. Now it’s a matter of getting him in a game. I presume, unless there is a setback, I presume he’ll be there. That’s where we’re at right now.”

The Chiefs will not provide an official update on Hardman with their injury report as they’re not required to report on players who are not currently on the active roster. Hardman has been designated to return, opening up his 21-day practice window, but he hasn’t yet been activated to the 53-man roster. The team has until Wednesday, Jan. 4 to activate him to the roster. If he’s not activated by that point, he’ll remain on injured reserve for the rest of the season and postseason.

Could Hardman be dealing with the same tiredness and soreness that he did last week or could he have suffered a setback? Eric Bieniemy weighed in on Hardman’s impending return ahead of practice on Thursday.

“The biggest thing with Mecole (Hardman) is making sure that he’s getting back into the groove,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, with him participating in practice, we’re not going to rush things. We’ve just got to make sure he’s good. And on top of that, we’ve got to get him back in game shape and making sure that he can handle the necessary amount of workload that we want to give him. So, we’re excited. Obviously, he’s done a heck of a job. We’ll just keep it moving from there and take it day by day.”

Bieniemy added that it’s about finding a balance between the training staff and coaching staff and doing enough to make sure that Hardman is back and healthy.

It’s worth noting, this practice absence might not be injury-related at all. Hardman’s girlfriend, Chariah Gordon, is pregnant. It’s possible that this was a personal day related to the pregnancy or otherwise.

We won’t know for certain what the absence means for Hardman’s status in Week 17 until Andy Reid speaks with the media on Friday. For now, there is at least some doubt that his return will occur this week.

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire