The Kansas City Chiefs made an expected move on Friday when they sent offensive lineman Lucas Niang to the injured reserve list. Niang tore his patellar tendon just six plays into the Chiefs’ eventual 34-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17.
With usual left tackle Orlando Brown scratched late due to an issue with his calf, the Chiefs inserted Niang at the position, where he suffered the season-ending injury.
2021 was considered Niang’s rookie year despite the Chiefs drafting him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Niang chose to opt out of the 2020 season.
Niang didn’t have a lot of luck when it came to injuries in 2021. He began the season as the starting right tackle for five games, was replaced by Mike Remmers in Week 6 as he dealt with a hamstring issue, and then regained his starting job for two games before missing several weeks as a result of an injury to his ribs.
Niang returned for the Thursday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Chargers before missing the following game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of COVID-19 protocols. He tore his patellar tendon in his ninth start of the season.
The expectation is that Andrew Wylie will continue to start at right tackle in Niang’s absence as Niang begins rehabbing with hopes of being ready in time for 2022. However, being good to go for Week 1 of next season will be a tall task considering how late in the regular season he suffered the injury. A more reasonable expectation would be a midseason return.
Remmers currently remains on injured reserve stemming from an issue with his back, according to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Offensive linemen Kyle Long and Prince Tega Wanogho remain active roster backups.