Speaking to the media on Friday, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed what we have been suspecting: quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
#MVPat returns pic.twitter.com/MvaDGvaBis— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 8, 2019
“Unless something happens here, he’ll be the guy that plays,” said Reid. “You can go whatever direction you want to go with it — I’m going to see after this practice, but right now, that’s what it looks like.”
Reid also said that defensive end Alex Okafor will not play against the Titans. The final injury report with official designations is released sometime Friday afternoon.
Mahomes dislocated his kneecap while executing a quarterback sneak in the second quarter of the 30-6 win over the Broncos on Thursday Night Football just over three weeks ago.
“I had all that adrenaline rushing — I didn’t know exactly what it was,” said Mahomes. “I just knew I couldn’t straighten my leg. I looked over and saw my kneecap a little out of place, so I just sat there, didn’t want to move. The doctors came out, put it back in, and I took those first few steps. I was gingerly walking, but then I realized I didn’t really have much pain at all, if any, so I walked off the field and got the exams and everything looked good.”
Backup Matt Moore came in to finish that game and then performed admirably in two starts since then: a 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers and a 26-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday.
Mahomes’ injury — at first thought to be serious by anxious Chiefs fans — turned out to be less terrifying than originally feared. An MRI performed the next day revealed no torn ligaments, and the following Monday, Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder described the test results to be “as good as we can possibly imagine.”
Reports from knowledgeable sources suggested Mahomes would be out anywhere from three to six weeks. With Friday’s news, Mahomes will play again just 24 days after suffering the injury.
“We knew how we’ve been doing the whole process of the injury, in general, is seeing how I felt every day,” said Mahomes. “I knew I had a chance once I talked to all those doctors, and they said that as long as I was functioning well, moving well, that I could play this week.”
Mahomes returned to limited duty in team practices last week and has been a full participant in this week’s practices. Reid said on Wednesday that Mahomes’ status was “day-to-day.”
“Coach Reid wanted me to still take it day by day, and so I went out here and practiced and took the reps,” said Mahomes. “I haven’t had any pain or any setbacks, and so as long as we keep going with that, I’m glad to be back out there.”
Mahomes has been wearing a brace on his knee, something he does not expect to be a “permanent thing” — but rather a tool he’s using to boost his confidence. Mahomes says the prevailing hope is that the injury was a one-time deal.
“It’s something that hopefully, was kind of a fluke thing,” he said. “I’ll always be, I guess, a tad bit higher than the regular person (to re-injure the knee), but whenever you’re on that football field, there’s always a chance of injury, and so as long as I’m functioning, I’m moving around the right way, I think I can go out there and play.”
And not simply play, according to Mahomes — to be the quarterback fans have become accustomed to seeing before the injury.
“That’s what we tested out this week, especially,” said Mahomes. “We put me on the run and I threw it across my body and did all the stuff that I’ve grown to do as I’ve been in the NFL and my whole career, and I didn’t have any pain. I was still able to do it. I was still able to throw across my body, and I wanted to make sure I was able to do that before I got back on that field.”