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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Chiefs ready for Dexter McCluster's return

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs hardly missed Dexter McCluster last week when they scored 56 points in a lopsided win against the Oakland Raiders. That doesn’t mean they won’t look forward to having back their slot receiver and punt return specialist in Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs signaled Thursday that McCluster would be available to play against the Colts when they released his replacement, Chad Hall. They re-signed defensive lineman Jerrell Powe to take Hall’s spot on the roster.

McCluster missed the Oakland game after a cut on his ankle became infected and swelled. He said he received the cut while returning a punt for a touchdown in the previous Sunday’s game at Washington.

Dexter McCluster
Getting Dexter McCluster back in the lineup is something the Chiefs and their fans will celebrate.
“Adrenaline took over," McCluster said. “It was just a small cut. I took a shower, bandaged it up, kept moving. Something must have crept in there underneath all that."

He practiced last week on Wednesday as normal, but that’s when the ankle swelled on him. He had the wound cleaned out later in the week, but wasn’t able to return on time to play against the Raiders.

“This is a first for me," he said. “You get those small cuts every day. It’s just something that kind of popped up on me, but we caught it early. Doctors did the (procedure to clean the wound), and I’ve been taking positive steps forward after that.

“I’m going to keep treating it. I’m going to keep doing whatever I have to do off the field to get back on the field."

Initially, the Chiefs feared McCluster’s infection might be MRSA, which is resistant to antibiotics. Tests later ruled that out, and the Chiefs were able to treat the infection.

“I had no idea what that was," McCluster said, referring to MRSA. “My mom, she was calling me (about that). We didn’t know what it was (at first). Thank God it wasn’t. Something that small, a cut I get every day in this sport. I took it very serious. I wanted to make sure it didn’t move, didn’t spread, didn’t affect my body as a whole. They did a great job of going in and finding out what it was."

The Chiefs scored seven offensive touchdowns against the Raiders without McCluster, their third leading receiver. Jamaal Charles scored five of them, four on passes.

The Chiefs attacked the Raiders repeatedly with the screen pass, but offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said none of those passes would have gone to McCluster had he been in the lineup.

“Most of that was designed for the tailback," Pederson said.

McCluster has more impact for the Chiefs as a punt returner. He has scored twice on returns this season.

“Getting Dexter back is big," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “He’s a threat, obviously, with the two touchdowns. He saves field position catching all of those short kicks. He catches the deep ones. Obviously, the threat that he’s going to catch it every time, that creates a lot of pressure on the punt team as well."