Blood trickles down his left shin as Jamaal Charles explains to a reporter why he’s wearing only a towel.

“Got these cuts” he says rubbing his arm and shoulder. “Can’t put clothes on just yet.”

Charles is headed to the trainer’s room soon. Bandages will keep him clean and protect his clothes. He just got out of the cold tub. Hopefully the swelling will stay down this way. Too early to know for sure.

Here’s what the Chiefs’ most irreplaceable player does know though: No new blisters on his toes which means the bottom of his feet aren’t more gruesome than before the Chiefs’ 24-7 win over the Raiders. By now that qualifies as good news.

“You don’t want to look at my toes right now” Charles says with a smile.

Charles’ pain is the collateral damage of a still-undefeated team without enough offense. This team is built around a vicious defense and with quarterback Alex Smith playing a second bad game in a row the Chiefs have no choice but to find out how much Charles can take.

The risk is in finding out.

The Chiefs are climbing the metaphorical mountain which is great but they’d be better off not turning Charles into their metaphorical Sherpa. This is the uncomfortable reality that understandably nobody wants to talk about in the glow of a season with building promise.

But with the Chiefs managing just 216 yards against the Raiders and Charles accounting for 128 of them … imagine this offense without its only real playmaker. Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Smith have always been at their best when the ball is spread around and finding ways to do that going forward is critical for the rest of the Chiefs season.

Charles is one of the NFL’s most dynamic players a wicked combination of championship track speed and small-town Texas toughness. He is running for 5.58 yards per carry the highest mark in league history and the Chiefs are right to want everything they can get out of him.