Less than a week removed from celebrating their Super Bowl LVII championship with a parade, the Kansas City Chiefs have moved onto the offseason.
For wide receiver Mecole Hardman, that meant undergoing surgery to repair a core injury suffered during the 2022 season.
Hardman broke the news on his Twitter account Tuesday morning.
Time for surgery pic.twitter.com/1JwmxlghZs— Mecole Hardman Jr. (@MecoleHardman4) February 21, 2023
Hardman initially suffered the injury in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans. He was eventually placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured (injured reserve) list, missing the remainder of the regular season. He finally returned to game action in the AFC Championship, but couldn’t finish the game after reaggravating the injury during his second reception.
The Chiefs have never given significant details about it, listing it as both an abdominal and pelvic issue. So the precise reason Hardman missed 10 games and the Super Bowl remains unclear. Speculating on the nature of the injury is difficult, because core refers to a complex grouping of muscles, tendons and ligaments from the mid-chest to the pelvis.
What is known, however, is that on Tuesday, Hardman underwent surgery at the Vincera Institute. Located in Philadelphia, the facility specializes in the treatment of core injuries. Its website references San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, who underwent treatment there for a core injury suffered in college. Bosa has returned to a very high level of play; he was named the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2022.
Hardman is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 15. It remains to be seen how his injury would impact negotiations for his future in Kansas City — or with another franchise.
Hardman appeared in eight 2022 games, collecting 25 receptions for 297 yards and four touchdowns, along with four rushes for 31 yards and two scores.