Although he won’t play tonight against the Packers, the fact that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes even had a chance to return only 10 days after suffering a dislocated kneecap becomes one of the most surprising developments of the entire 2019 season.
The specific timetable for Mahomes remains unclear (as it was a week ago), but Mahomes has a chance at getting back sooner than later because of the way his knee is constructed.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL explains that Mahomes has naturally loose knee ligaments, resulting in only one ligament being affected by the kneecap ending up in a spot where kneecaps don’t normally go. The end result was the best-case scenario for Mahomes.
Still, it’s unknown how that best-case scenario translates to Mahomes playing football again. Per Rapoport, Mahomes has an “outside chance” to face the Vikings next Sunday, and a “very realistic shot” to play against the Titans the following Sunday.
As a practical matter, whether the Chiefs win or lose tonight will be a factor in the urgency felt by the organization to get Mahomes back. A loss to Green Bay would drop the Chiefs to 5-3. The Vikings, who currently are playing well on both sides of the ball, could then knock the Chiefs to 5-4, dropping them to 1-4 at home in 2019.
The Chiefs will need to resist considering the standings and peeking at the schedule when determining whether and when Mahomes should return. He’ll be the team’s quarterback for the next 15 years or longer, and it would be foolish and reckless to compromise future seasons by putting him back on the field before he has healed — even if Mahomes pogo-sticking on one leg while still throwing darts all over the field would be better than Matt Moore, Kyle Shurmur, and/or Chad Henne at 100 percent.