KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas broke a leg during practice and could miss the rest of the season.
It’s the latest in a string of injuries to befall the unbeaten team.
The Chiefs also listed Justin Houston as doubtful for Sunday night’s game against the Patriots in New England with a hamstring injury. Free safety Eric Murray has been ruled out with an ankle injury and offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is out with a broken bone in his leg.
Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said that Thomas was taking part in Thursday’s practice when he got stepped on from behind, fracturing the same leg he broke in a game last December. Thomas had surgery to repair the break and had a metal rod inserted, though the latest break did not damage that repair.
“He had what we consider a freak accident,” Burkholder said. “All indications are right now that he won’t need surgery and he will heal up on his own, but he will need some time to heal up.”
Thomas surprised many by making the Chiefs’ roster in training camp, given his relatively modest production his first four years in Kansas City. And while he has just three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown, Thomas has proven to be valuable on special teams.
“I’m sorry for the kid. He’s a tough little nut, man,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’ll come back and he’ll be all right. You hate that to happen, as hard as he worked to get back.”
Reid characterized Houston as a “longshot” to play against the Patriots, likely leaving Kansas City without its top pass rusher against Tom Brady and Co. Tanoh Kpassagnon is likely to start alongside Dee Ford, though both of those outside linebackers have also been hobbled by injuries.
The Chiefs tried to shore up their pass rush this week by signing Frank Zombo, who was cut in camp after spending the past five seasons with them, and former Browns linebacker Nate Orchard.
Zombo’s familiarity with the defense means he could play Sunday. Orchard also could be active.
“I think he could come out and help you if needed. He can do that,” Reid said. “He is good enough to be worked in, plus he was familiar with us being in Cleveland for a year, with this system.”
In the defensive backfield, the Chiefs are almost certain to be without Eric Berry, who continues to be listed as doubtful and has not practiced since early in training camp with a heel injury.
Fellow safety Daniel Sorensen is also on injured reserve with a broken leg, which means the latest injury to Murray leaves the Chiefs desperately short on depth. Jordan Lucas will likely start opposite of Ron Parker, though he’s played primarily special teams since arriving in a trade with Miami.
Lucas did pick off Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in last week’s win over Jacksonville.
“He’s played quite a little bit before he got here and then he played for us last week,” Reid said. “He knows what’s going on and actually had some nice plays back there.”