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Big injury update: Chiefs suddenly need a backup QB and defensive lineman

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We had no idea Chad Henne was seriously injured on Saturday, but he’s going to miss significant time

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

According to a report from friend-of-the-site Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest, Kansas City Chiefs vice president of sports medicine and performance Rick Burkholder dropped a couple of bombshells on Monday: Chiefs backup quarterback Chad Henne suffered a fractured ankle during the Chiefs’ 27-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, and will undergo surgery.

Also undergoing surgery: defensive lineman Breeland Speaks.

Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star provided some additional details on Henne’s injury in another report.

According to Pryor, Burkholder also announced that wide receiver Marcus Kemp — whom we already knew had torn his left ACL and MCL in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers a week ago— will undergo surgery in Dallason Tuesday.


Needless to say, news of Henne’s injury is both surprising and concerning. Although Henne played only four snaps against the 49ers on Saturday — and did appear to be limping after being sacked by Arik Armstead and Damontre Moore — until Monday, we had no idea his injury was serious.

“Chad Henne has a slight ankle soreness, we’re just going to evaluate him,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after the game on Saturday. “Not sure exactly where that’s at right now, but we’ll see.”

The loss of Henne — an 11th-year veteran in his second year backing up Patrick Mahomes — is very bad news. Ever since Reid arrived in Kansas City, he’s always had an experienced backup quarterback available. With Henne out, only second-year player Chase Litton and rookie Kyle Shurmur are presently available to step in if Mahomes is injured.

Does this mean the Chiefs could acquire a veteran backup to take Henne’s place on the roster? Based on Reid’s history, that seems likely.

It was less surprising that Speaks will require surgery for his injury. He did not play on Saturday against the 49ers. We learned last Thursday that he was meeting with doctors to get an evaluation of the knee injury he suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week.

“I’m having him meet with some doctors here and just checking that thing out and letting it calm down and see where we’re at,” said Reid on Thursday. “Some of it’s the swelling. I can’t tell you the whole thing, because I’m a coach.”

We do not yet have official word on a timetable for any of these players to return — and so far, there are no reports of the Chiefs making any kind of roster moves in the wake of the injuries to Henne and Speaks. But we can be certain that moves will be made. Both players are going to miss significant time.