Rather than spending their mini-bye weekend doing household chores or absorbing the performances of other NFL teams in Week 7, many Kansas City Chiefs fans spent it watching for the latest news on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a patellar dislocation (a dislocated kneecap) during the team’s 30-6 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
There was plenty of reason for worry in the hours after the game, but Friday’s initial news was good — and kept getting better.
By early Friday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was confirming that Mahomes had suffered a dislocated kneecap instead of a more serious knee injury. The initial word was that the reigning MVP would miss “at least three weeks” of the season.
Before noon on Friday, Rapoport reported that Mahomes had undergone an MRI that found he had not suffered “significant additional damage” — one of the issues that could have required a longer rehabilitation period from the injury.
On Sunday morning, Rapoport reported that tests had revealed a “best-case scenario” for the Chiefs: the ligaments surrounding Mahomes’ knee had been stretched, but not torn (because following the incident, Mahomes had been careful not to move).
Rapoport said his sources were saying Mahomes would likely miss three to five weeks of the season.
Rapoport also had good news about another issue. As our in-house injury expert Aaron Borgmann had noted on Friday morning, the chances were good that even if Mahomes could return to the field quickly, he might still need to undergo corrective surgery after the season to prevent the injury from becoming a chronic issue.
Even if Mahomes can play with this injury now and recover quickly in a matter of weeks, the possibility exists for surgical intervention after the season is over to address the issue long-term, as the factors for a chronic dislocator aren’t great for a professional football player.
In short, the chances are greater than not that Mahomes will need to have this issue surgically addressed at some point in the future to ensure more long-term success.
But according to Rapoport’s Sunday morning report, no kind of surgery was even being discussed — either now or following the season.
Shortly afterward, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter issued a somewhat contradictory report that “league sources” were telling him Mahomes could return in “three weeks — if not sooner.”
That brings us to what the Chiefs will do during Mahomes’ absence from the lineup — however long it lasts.
For the moment, veteran Matt Moore has the starting job. Speaking with the press on Friday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid acknowledged the team was looking at the possibility of activating rookie Kyle Shurmur from the team’s practice squad to serve as Moore’s backup; the Chiefs have only two quarterbacks on the active roster: the starter and his backup.
In the meantime, Reid said that the team might make small adjustments to the offense to accommodate Moore, but didn’t expect the changes to be major.
“That’s part of being a coach and knowing your players,” he said. “You want to put them in the best position for what they do the best and work on those things to make them better that they don’t do the best so you can utilize those tools there.
“I mean we will look at what he does best and talk with him too and we’ll put together a good game plan. That’s the direction we’re going in is to put together a good game plan.”
While there has been plenty of speculation over the weekend that the Chiefs might make a move to sign another quarterback, there has been no reporting the Chiefs are actually considering such a move. As Rapoport noted on Sunday afternoon, Reid’s history suggests that he will use the backup already on the roster until Mahomes can return.
For now, it seems certain that Mahomes will miss at least two games and possibly as many as four.