Sometimes, history does have a way of repeating itself. A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs entered the Super Bowl with injury concerns, and the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII matchup against the San Francisco 49ers will prove to be no different.
Prior to their win against the Philadelphia Eagles last season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was dealing with a high ankle sprain, which had affected him throughout the majority of the postseason. We eventually saw Mahomes don his superhero cape and gut his way through the game to help bring the Chiefs to victory.
Chiefs’ injury situation
Mahomes is healthy this season, but the team has other injury concerns. Head coach Andy Reid confirmed All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney will miss the Super Bowl due to his pectoral strain. The main reason cited as the cause for concern with Thuney’s availability came down to his lack of strength.
As I noted in my injury analysis for a pectoral strain, this is one of the main symptoms of this injury. Players will have difficulty generating sufficient force for pushing and potentially even have difficulty with shoulder range of motion—a significant issue for an offensive lineman.
Thuney will be replaced by offensive lineman Nick Allegretti, who filled in nicely for Thuney in the AFC Championship. The Chiefs’ offensive line as a whole has played outstanding this postseason, only allowing two sacks and establishing a strong running game.
The offense will most likely still be without running back Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon carries a questionable designation to play into the Super Bowl after logging three limited practice sessions this week. McKinnon returned to the practice field after undergoing a reported sports hernia surgery in early January. While possible to return to the field this quickly, if the surgery was a hernia repair, it’s unlikely given McKinnon was unable to participate fully in any practice sessions.
Finally, on the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs will also be without defensive end Charles Omenihu, who tore his ACL early in the AFC Championship game. Losing Omenihu will certainly be a challenge for the Chiefs’ defense, but one they can overcome, through the team’s versatility and veteran leadership.
49ers injury situation
The 49ers enter the Super Bowl with minimal injury concerns. Several star players were included on the injury report this week, including tight end George Kittle (toe), offensive lineman Trent Williams (rest), and defensive lineman Arik Armstead (knee/foot). All three players logged a full practice session on Friday and don’t carry an injury designation into the Super Bowl. None of them missed time in the NFC Championship due to injury.
Defensive tackle Kalia Davis, who remains on IR, has the potential to be elevated to the active roster. However, he caries a questionable designation to play into the Super Bowl. Davis is returning from a high ankle sprain he suffered in week 15. Davis has appeared in only three games for the 49ers this season.
Notable players on injured reserve for the 49ers include safety Talanoa Hufunga (ACL) and tight end Ross Dwelley (high ankle).
The bottom line
The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, and sometimes the last two standing teams are the healthiest. The 49ers, who have been marred by injuries in recent seasons, enter the Super Bowl at near full health. The defending champion Chiefs, have more injury concerns entering the game—however, have the championship experience and veteran leadership to overcome the injuries.