Another practice for Chiefs without Charles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running back Jamaal Charles for the fourth time in nine weeks made an appearance on the Kansas City Chiefs’ injury report. Charles did not practice because of a sore knee, the same injury that briefly knocked him out of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Even so, Charles should be ready to play on Sunday against the Bills in Buffalo.

It’s the third injury of the season for Charles, who earlier had a sore quadriceps muscle and extensive blisters on his feet. Charles also strained his foot during the preseason, causing him to miss some practice time then.

Charles has always been able to answer the bell on game day but may not always be so fortunate. The Chiefs have done little in the way of preparing for that contingency, which is shocking given their reliance on Charles.

He is far and away their leading rusher and their only player other than quarterback Alex Smith with more than 59 yards on the ground. Charles is also by a wide margin their leader in receptions with 41 and touchdowns with 8. The Cleveland game was the first of the year without Charles scoring a touchdown.

The Chiefs may eventually regret their choice not to develop or find someone who can give them a reasonable percentage of what Charles does. They made no trade before Tuesday’s deadline for a backup runner, which means without signing someone currently without a job or plucking someone off waivers, their choices are rookie Knile Davis, a third-round draft pick, and second-year player Cyrus Gray.

Davis played 11 snaps against the Browns, a high for him since the season-opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chiefs used him as they would have Charles. He was split as a wide receiver on three of them.

Between carries, receptions and kickoff returns, Davis has touched the ball only 21 times this season. He still fumbled twice, though the Chiefs retained possession both times.

He was also a notorious fumbler in college, so it’s difficult for the Chiefs to have much trust in him.

“He’s getting better,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “[Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy] is relentless. He’s not going to let up.’’

The Chiefs appear to have little use on offense for Gray. He’s played just 17 snaps and has touched the ball just four times.

So Davis would obviously be the Chiefs’ featured back if one of these injuries finally prevents Charles from playing. That has to be a most uneasy thought for Reid and the Chiefs.