KC Chiefs’ Chris Jones, Charvarius Ward are ‘close’ but won’t play Sunday in Washington

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The Chiefs’ defense is down a pair of key starters again this weekend.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday that defensive end Chris Jones (wrist) and cornerback Charvarius Ward (quad) are out for Sunday’s noon road game against the Washington Football Team.

Jones, who hasn’t practiced since Week 4, will miss his second straight game, while Ward hasn’t played since Week 2.

The Chiefs originally said they were resting Jones last week before declaring him inactive for their home game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday night. He missed all three days of practice again this week, so he’ll be sitting again.

Both Jones and Ward are key starters for a defense that ranks last or near last in many key statistical categories. But Reid indicated that both players are trending in a positive direction as they work their way back from their respective injuries.

“The main thing is that thing heals up and he goes,” Reid said of Ward in particular. “I think we’re close, real close, but it just wasn’t quite back all the way yet.”

The coach said the same applies to Jones, the Chiefs’ best defensive lineman and pass rusher. The Chiefs have totaled a league-worst seven sacks this season.

“He’s close, too,” Reid said. “Both of those two are close.”

With Jones out, the Chiefs will rely more heavily on defensive end Frank Clark, Mike Danna and Alex Okafor to put pressure on Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who has thrown five interceptions over the past four games. They could also bolster their depth on the edge by elevating defensive end Demone Harris from their practice squad. They did so for last week’s game.

Meanwhile, cornerback Rashad Fenton will likely draw another start at left cornerback in place of Ward and opposite L’Jarius Sneed at the right cornerback position in the team’s 4-3 base defensive scheme. The Chiefs also have cornerbacks Mike Hughes, Deandre Baker and Chris Lammons available.

“I think we’re OK there,” Reid said. “We should be fine.”

Tight end Blake Bell, who is dealing with a back injury, is also out Sunday, Reid said. Jody Fortson and rookie Noah Gray, who was a healthy inactive in Week 5, are available to serve as backups to starting tight end Travis Kelce.

Starting left guard Joe Thuney, who broke his hand during Sunday’s loss to the Bills, and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quad injury) both practiced Friday.

Reid didn’t commit to either player’s availability for Sunday’s game in Washington, but he did sound optimistic.

“(Thuney) looked pretty good today,” Reid said.

If Thuney can’t play, the Chiefs could turn to Nick Allegretti, who started nine games at left guard last season, and perhaps get additional help from Andrew Wylie and Mike Remmers.

As for Hill, Reid made it sound like he was his usual self during Friday’s practice.

“He was bouncing around pretty good, moving well,” Reid said.

The Chiefs officially designated Thuney, Hill and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (knee) as questionable on their daily injury report. Hitchens put in a full practice Friday after being limited Thursday and not practicing at all on Wednesday.

For the Washington Football Team, wide receiver Curtis Samuel (groin), tackle Sam Cosmi (ankle), linebacker Jared Norris (shoulder), wide receiver Cam Sims (hamstring) and guard Brandon Scherff (knee) were listed Friday as out.

Wide receiver Terry Mclaurin (hamstring), running back Antonio Gibson (shin), wide receiver Dyami Brown (knee) and and tight end Sammie Reyes (back) were noted as questionable.

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