Continued from page 1

That’s easy to say, tougher to do. Charles was coming off a breakout season in which he gained 1,467 yards, second only to the Texans’ Arian Foster, and averaged nearly 6 1/2 yards per carry. Charles also caught 45 passes for 468 yards while earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

The only silver lining is that the Chiefs have more depth in the backfield than they have at tight end and safety, the two other positions where they’ve sustained devastating injuries.

Jones has plenty of experience carrying a heavy load, and ran for 896 yards and six TDs last season while logging more carries than Charles. Second-year pro Dexter McCluster also has shown a spark at running back after moving over from slot receiver during the preseason.

“We have very capable, proven guys in the backfield,” Chiefs wide receiver Jerheme Urban said. “Coach talks about it all the time, and if you go in any other NFL locker room, they’re going to talk about it was well: Somebody goes down, somebody else has to step up.”

But what if three players go down, all of them bright young stars?

“That’s the nature of the beast, that’s the nature of the game,” veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “Injuries happen. Things happen on the field that’s unfortunate. It’s a setback for you, but we’re all professionals. Someone has to step up. We have to be that much closer.”