Questions have arisen around the availability of Patrick Mahomes with his ankle injury for the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
The Kansas City Chiefs already faced a tall order in the upcoming AFC Championship game for a number of reasons, ranging from the quality of competition in any deep postseason game to the fact that their opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals, have already defeated them three times in the last calendar year. Those clouds only darkened when Patrick Mahomes was injured in the Divisional Round.
Last Saturday, the Chiefs withstood the best efforts from the Jacksonville Jaguars to advance to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship game and they did so while watching their star quarterback—and the odds-on favorite to win NFL MVP—struggle with an ankle injury. Immediately, questions began to arise as to whether or not Mahomes would be able to play going forward—if the Chiefs were to win.
The Chiefs were able to put the Jags away by a final score of 27-20 and will now host the Bengals at Arrowhead for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. But will the matchup be the sort of quarterback showdown that fans are hoping for between Joe Burrow and Mahomes? Let’s look at what we know at this point.
What sort of injury does Mahomes have?
Mahomes had his leg rolled up under Jaguars defensive lineman Arden Key in the first quarter of the Divisional Round game. He suffered a high ankle sprain on the play, but further x-rays and tests confirmed that there was nothing greater that happened structurally to his knee.
How bad is a high ankle sprain?
The recovery time from a high ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the sprain and the individual involved. If someone is more flexible with stronger joints, then the path to recovery can be shorter, but most sources say between six to eight weeks is a solid target. Remember, Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been out since Week 11 when he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Chargers. That said, Mahomes is not human and seems ready to ignore such timelines.
How could Mahomes return so quickly in the Divisional Round?
Mahomes is a fierce competitor and we’ve likely all watched the sideline skirmish between Mahomes, Andy Reid, and Rick Burkholder in which Mahomes was adamant that he did not want to go to the locker room for tests during the game. That said, he did go back for tests, got positive feedback, and came back with his ankle heavily taped.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid appeared on Sirius XM’s ‘Let’s’ Go’ this week to explain his decision to put Mahomes back in the game.
“I mean, you, you love the grit, but sometimes you got to try to protect the player from the player too… I just wanted to make sure that son of a gun wasn’t broken because it was kind of an ugly, ugly look right there. But once he got it checked out, he was good to go.”
How is Mahomes feeling at this point?
When asked how his ankle feels, Mahomes told reporters on Wednesday, “It’s doing good.He was also able to go through walkthrough and practice on Wednesday for the Chiefs, which is a good sign going forward for Mahomes’ availability.
How likely is it that Mahomes will play?
Andy Reid was already asked this question to begin the week during his Monday media session and he simply stated, “He’s gonna play.” Unless the injury somehow worsens, you can take the Chiefs’ coach at his word. This also backs up Jay Glazer’s earlier report that Mahomes is expected to play despite the injury.
But would Mahomes play without practicing for the Chiefs?
Andy Reid did admit that it’s never happened before, but he did agree that it’s possible that could be the scenario—for Mahomes to just come into the game without working through things ahead of time. “Yeah, it’s possible. I think so. He’s never done that, so I don’t really have the answer for you on that.
When is the AFC Championship?
The Bengals and Chiefs are scheduled to kick off at 5:30 pm CT on Sunday, January 29.