Chiefs DT Derrick Nnadi explains role injuries have played in rough start of 2021

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Injuries are just part of the game of football in the modern NFL. As the Kansas City Chiefs have slid in the AFC standings in recent weeks, availability is becoming a primary concern for the team as they scramble to get back into playoff contention. Both sides of the ball have had their share of players get hurt, and after a brutal matchup against Buffalo, the list has continued to expand.

The 2021 Chiefs have been defined by their defensive ineptitude, and though their ineffective play is by no means totally caused by injures, they certainly haven’t helped. Starting lineman Derrick Nnadi spoke to the media before Wednesday’s practice about his struggles staying healthy this year. He came out of the preseason with a nagging hip injury that saw him listed as questionable heading into week one.

In describing where he’s at in his recovery process, Nnadi implied to reporters that though the hip still bothers him, he is feeling better every week, and should be all the way back by the end of the schedule.

“I would say it was bothering me a lot at the beginning of the season,” He said of the bad hip. “But as I know myself, I’ve just got to make sure I’m staying healthy, still working out, trying to get nice and loose. Knowing me, I’m going to get right, just keep working, keep improving it and I should be fine as the year goes by.”

Though fighting through injuries is surely not the most glamorous part of the job, Nnadi understands that they’re part of the game. The veteran defensive tackle knows that the talent upfront for Kansas City is always looking for opportunities to make a difference, no matter if they’re a starter or depth.

“At the end of the day in the NFL, there’s going to be some injuries here and there,” Nnadi explained. “There’s going to be bumps and bruises. At the end of the day, there’s always the ‘next man up’ mentality, so no matter who’s on that line, whoever’s on that line has to be ready to go no matter what the circumstances.”

His circumstances might still be less than ideal, but Nnadi is finding ways to make plays as he works his way back to full strength. Recording his highest snap share of the season, 56-percent in the game against Buffalo, he managed to make four tackles and played serviceably.

Another full week of recovery and practice coupled with another increase in his amount of downs played could prove to be all that’s needed for Nnadi to truly break out in the Week 6 matchup against Washington. With a sack or some stout run defense in the ground game, he could provide some crucial momentum to a defense that is desperate for new contributors.

List

First injury report for Chiefs vs. Washington, Week 6