Final Chiefs Injury Updates Before AFC Championship Game

Kansas City’s Friday practice sheds new light on availability for Sunday’s playoff game.

The Kansas City Chiefs finished up their final practice of the work week ahead of their Sunday matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, and they have revenge on their minds as the AFC Championship Game looms.

In a rematch of last season’s matchup and also a Week 13 meeting this season, Kansas City is hosting the conference title game for an NFL record fifth time in a row. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is looking for another road win at Arrowhead Stadium that advances them to the Super Bowl in back-to-back campaigns. It’s true “win or go home” time for both clubs, and the entire season is hanging in the balance.

Late on Friday morning, the Bengals ruled out offensive linemen Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa for another week. Head coach Zac Taylor was unsure of whether either player would potentially be available for the Super Bowl, as his team still has to get past Kansas City first. On the Chiefs’ side, head coach Andy Reid took the podium on Friday afternoon to provide some updates on a few of his players for the final time before this week’s game. 

As expected, quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a good enough week of practice to remain in the lineup for Sunday’s game. Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain during the Chiefs’ Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he had a better week than he expected and will be active in Kansas City’s biggest game of the season. How mobile and effective he’ll be on Sunday remains to be seen, but he was adamant early in the week that he wouldn’t miss this contest. Now, per Reid, that’s official. 

Elsewhere for the Chiefs, wide receiver Justin Watson missing practice with an illness doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in line to miss Sunday’s game. Assuming he’ll be good to go, Kansas City will avoid losing someone who was on the field for 56% of the offense’s snaps in the Divisional Round. The status of wideout Mecole Hardman is more up-in-the-air, as Reid said he looked better than he did last week but the team didn’t have a final decision on his playing status as of early Friday afternoon.

Of two main players on the injured reserve list (tight end Jody Fortson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire), Reid said the former could “potentially” be activated to the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game. It appeared early in the week that Fortson had more of an inside track at getting activated than Edwards-Helaire, and any potential move on the roster front would likely take place on Saturday if Fortson does end up re-joining his teammates in that capacity.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Tight end Travis Kelce was added to the Friday injury report with a back injury despite being a full participant in practice. He’s questionable for Sunday’s game, as are Hardman and Watson. Additionally, Mahomes didn’t have an injury designation for the game and linebacker Nick Bolton was put on the report with an ankle injury. 

Read More: Lessons the Chiefs Can Take Into Sunday’s Game Against Bengals