Punt returns would suffer minus McCluster

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thursday's injury report revealed an ankle injury to Dexter McCluster, who did not practice.

If McCluster isn't available to play Sunday against the Raiders in Oakland, the Kansas City Chiefs could survive without him as a slot receiver. He is third on the Chiefs with 46 catches but Junior Hemingway has played well there in his limited opportunities.

It would hurt the Chiefs the most in the kicking game. McCluster has returned two punts for touchdowns this season, including a 74-yarder against the Washington Redskins. He has returned all 54 punts for the Chiefs and has all of their seven fair catches.

The Chiefs have no obvious candidate on their active roster to replace him. They claimed Kyle Williams off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the season, but he injured a knee after playing in only one game and is out for the season.

Chad Hall returned a few punts for Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles a couple of seasons ago, but the Chiefs released Hall last week.

Without McCluster, the Chiefs had a collection of practice squad players shagging punts Thursday. The most obvious choice among them is rookie Frankie Hammond Jr. He did a decent job returning punts in the preseason.