Chiefs place Charles on PUP list, plan to bring him along slowly

Jamaal Charles (right) took part in a June minicamp.

Denny Medley/Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs placed running back Jamaal Charles on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, though coach Andy Reid said it should not be considered a setback in his return from a knee injury.

Charles tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 5 last season. He had surgery soon afterward and was far enough along in his recovery that he participated in some drills during mandatory minicamp.

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"He’s on track and he’s played a lot of downs, so he knows what he needs to do to be ready, and I think we’ll be fine there," Reid said. "The important thing is that we are patient with him in bringing him back. He knows what to do to be ready and when he’s ready, we’ll bring him back."

This is the second time that Charles has undergone surgery to repair an ACL. He missed most of the 2011 season after hurting his other knee but ran for 1,509 yards the following season.

Still, Charles is older now — he turns 30 in December — and has many more hits on his body.

The Chiefs can afford to take their time with him, though. They re-signed Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware in the offseason, bringing back the speed-and-power combination that filled in well for Charles when he was hurt while making a cut in a game against the Bears.

"We’re just going to take our time," Reid said. "We’re just going to make sure he’s good."

The Chiefs can take Charles off the PUP list whenever he is medically cleared, but that likely will not happen anytime soon. Veterans do not report for the start of training camp until Friday.

Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines also tore an ACL early last season, but he is already close to full speed. He is expected to compete for one of the starting jobs opposite Marcus Peters.

"I thought he moved around great," Reid said after the first practice involving rookies, select veterans and quarterbacks. "He took a lot of reps and it looks like he’s put on some weight and some strength. I was happy with what I saw today. He competed."

Gaines said he still has some rust to knock off, but he is "close to 100 percent."

"I’m definitely climbing toward that way," he said. "It’s the first time playing football since the Green Bay game (on Sept. 28), so just feels good to be able to have the opportunity to play."

Gaines said there is no pain in his surgically repaired knee, just a bit of stiffness from time to time. He praised the work of Dr. James Andrews, who also operated on Charles and repaired linebacker Justin Houston’s torn ACL in February, and said that he trusts his knee to hold up.

"I mean, Dr. Andrews is one of the best surgeons in the world, he’s world-renowned," Gaines said, "and everybody knows him. So if he says my knee’s good, then I have all the confidence in the world."

Wide receiver Mike Williams, who was signed to provide some depth, also made it onto the practice field Wednesday after dealing with a hamstring injury during the offseason program.

Williams starred for Tampa Bay before injuries and a suspension derailed his career.

"It feels real good. That’s what I’ve been training for to get back out there, so it’s kind of good that I got an early start," he said. "It feels really good to be back out here again."