The Kansas City Chiefs avoided disaster when quarterback Patrick Mahomes went down in the second quarter of last Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos with a dislocated kneecap, as the team's head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder provided an encouraging update on the reigning league MVP Monday.
Burkholder disclosed that Mahomes' MRI "turned out as good as possible," and he is "progressing nicely," according to the Kansas City Star's Herbie Teope.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Mahomes will be out three-to-five weeks, while ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen had sources relay that the 24-year-old could return in fewer than three weeks, feeling "good" and considering himself to be "week to week":
Mahomes' odds to return this season skyrocketed when the MRI did not show any additional ligament damage.
When Mahomes was laying on the field in pain, it didn't look possible that he could play again any time soon:
The Chiefs now have to make sure that Mahomes isn't rushed back too soon, jeopardizing his future health, but they definitely need him back under center as soon as possible. The 2017 10th overall pick has immeasurable value to this team, which became even more apparent prior to the knee injury while he was hobbled by an ankle ailment in recent weeks and Kansas City lost two in a row.
In his first full year as a starter last season, Mahomes lit up the league with 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns on 66 percent completion. The Chiefs went 12-4 to win the AFC West and made it to the AFC Championship Game before their season ended at the hands of the eventual champion New England Patriots.
Through seven weeks of the 2019 campaign, the Texas Tech product has 2,180 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception.
In Mahomes' absence, however long it lasts, the Chiefs will count on backup quarterback Matt Moore to tide them over.
Prior to taking over for Mahomes last week in Denver, Moore hadn't played in the NFL since 2017. When the Chiefs called Moore to sign him as a backup following Chad Henne fracturing his ankle in August, Moore was coaching high school football.
Moore has spent the bulk of his career with the Miami Dolphins from 2011 to 2017. His best season came in 2011 when he started 12 games, going 6-6, and tossing for 2,497 yards paired with 16 touchdowns and nine picks. In the years since Moore has only started five games.
Overall, Moore's numbers are 7,055 yards, 46 touchdowns and 36 interceptions on 59.4 percent completion.
Kansas City's stellar skill players including receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce should help mask the drop-off between Mahomes and Moore. Hill and Moore connected for a 57-yard touchdown against the Broncos:
First up for the Moore-led Chiefs will be the 6-1 Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City leads the AFC West at 5-2.