On Friday morning, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported on injuries to two key Kansas City Chiefs starters before their AFC championship game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday: tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones:
RAPOPORT: “[Kelce] was electric on the field this past week — but he was doing it [while] battling through a little bit of pain. From my understanding, he was dealing with IT-band tightness in his knee — something that was causing him soreness and discomfort. It actually limited his practice availability last week — and has limited his practice availability this week. But it does sound like he’s going to be out on the field. He’s certainly not going to miss this game for a nagging-type injury. But we will see if this is something that plagues him going forward. Thus far, he has been able to grit his teeth and simply deal with it.”
The IT band is a long tendon that runs down the side of the leg. It can become irritated and inflamed from rubbing against other structures. Because the pain appeared in the knee area, the Chiefs first described Kelce’s injury as a sore knee.
But Rapoport didn’t have an encouraging report about Jones’ injury.
RAPOPORT: ”A different situation for Chris Jones. Remember: he tweaked his calf in the middle of last week in practice. He was a game-time decision; there was a little bit of optimism that maybe he’d get on the field. Then he worked out pregame and there was no optimism; it was obvious he was not ready to go. Such an important player in the middle of their defense [with] nine sacks this year — a Pro Bowl disruptor — [but] he has not practiced yet. While Andy Reid said he is improving, [if] he doesn’t get out there on the field [on Friday], it does not bode well for him being out there on Sunday.”
When he spoke to the press on Thursday, Reid was noncommittal about whether Jones would practice on Friday.
“I’m not saying that he is not going to practice,” he said. “I’m just saying that he’s not doing it today. We’ll see. Every situation is a little bit different. I’ll just see how it goes and see where he’s at. Try not to put him into a position where he gets hurt or hurts the team. You have to take care of both — the [team] and Chris.”