Pro Football|Patrick Mahomes Knocked Out of Game by a Knee Injury
The balance of power in the AFC might have shifted Thursday night on a quarterback sneak.
Kansas City’sPatrick Mahomes, the reigning winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award, sustained what appeared to be a serious right knee injury after surging for a first down in the second quarter of the Chiefs’ game on Thursday night at Denver. After being tended to by trainers, he limped off the field and, within minutes, was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The knee injury comes as Mahomes, 24, has been battling a left ankle injury he sustained in the season opener and aggravated in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans.
The Chiefs, who began Thursday with a half-game lead in the AFC West over second-place Oakland, did not immediately offer additional information on Mahomes’s status. Matt Moore, who had played only nine snaps since 2017, replaced Mahomes andled the Chiefs (5-2) to a 30 – 6 win over the Broncos (2-5).
Mahomes injured his knee while converting a 4th-and-1 sneak inside the Broncos’ 5-yard line with about 10 minutes remaining before halftime. When the Chiefs and Broncos emerged from the pile, Mahomes stayed down, his right knee bent but slack.
He lay on his back with his helmet off , his hands over his eyes, as trainers appeared to pop his kneecap back into place. Players from both teams rushed over to check on Mahomes. A medical cart came out to usher him off the field, but Mahomes refused it, instead draping his arms around trainers ’shoulders and hobbling toward the locker room.
The Chiefs will not know the extent of Mahomes’s injury until he undergoes full testing, but NFL Network reported that he had dislocated his kneecap. After the game ended, he posted a congratulatorymessage to his teammates on Twitterand concluded by writing, “Everything looking good so far!”
At the very least, though, it seemed unlikely on Thursday night that Mahomes would be available for Kansas City’s next game, a marquee matchup at home on Oct. 27 against Green Bay.
Beyond that, the Chiefs must hope for a return to full health by a player who has captivated football audiences and dominated the league. Last year, in his second N.F.L. season, Mahomes took over as the Chiefs’ starter and recorded one of the best seasons by a quarterback in league history, becoming only the second player –after Peyton Manningin 2013 – to throw for 5, 000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
This season, Mahomes hadthrown for 14 touchdowns– with one interception – over his first six games, performing so well that he partly obscured his lingering ankle problems.
Mahomes rolled his ankle during the Chiefs’ opening victory in Jacksonville, then hurt it again in each of the last two games, both home losses, against Indianapolis and Houston. Lacking mobility in those games, he posted his two lowest completion percentages of the season.
With Mahomes, the Chiefs have the fiercest, most unpredictable offense in their conference, if not the league, and, in a top-heavy AFC, pose a serious a threat to the unbeaten New England Patriots. Without him, the Chiefs, despite their bounty of playmakers, are not nearly as intimidating.
They managed to survive without him on Thursday night. They hope they will not have to do so again, or for long.
Ben Shpigel is a sports reporter and has covered the NFL and the New York Jets since 2011. He has also covered the New York Yankees and, before that, the Mets. He previously worked for The Dallas Morning News.@benshpigel