Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Kyle Long reportedly suffered a leg injury that could keep him out of training camp.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, it was initially feared that the injury was serious, although there is now "hope" that Long could be back in time for the start of the regular season.
Pelissero added that "the belief" is Long suffered a fractured kneecap. Despite that, Long could still be back in time for Week 1.
Long retired after the 2019 season on the heels of seven seasons with the Chicago Bears, but he came out of retirement to sign a one-year contract with the Chiefs this offseason.
The 32-year-old Long was a three-time Pro Bowler as a right guard and right tackle during his time in Chicago, although he was ravaged by injuries over his final four seasons.
After missing just one game in his first three NFL seasons from 2013-15, Long missed a total of 34 games from 2016-19 because of various injuries.
Long sat out the entire 2020 campaign after retiring, but the Chiefs pursued him in their effort to improve their offensive line after it was dominated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive front in last season's Super Bowl loss.
In addition to signing Long, the Chiefs signed guard Joe Thuney and center Austin Blythe, traded for offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and selected center Creed Humphrey in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Long was signed with the expectation that he would serve as the Chiefs' starting right guard, but that is far from a guarantee given the depth that Kansas City has accrued along the offensive line.
As of now, Thuney is a fairly sure bet to start at left guard, while Laurent Duvernay-Tardif may act as the starting right guard until Long returns.
Duvernay-Tardif did not play last season after opting out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but he did make 14 starts in 2019 and started 57 of the 60 games he appeared in from 2015-19.
Given the starting experience of Duvernay-Tardif, it is conceivable that he could lock down the starting job during Long's absence.
If not, Pelissero's report suggests the Chiefs are hopeful Long will be back before Week 1 of the regular season to take his starting spot for what could be one of the NFL's best offensive lines in 2021.