Patrick Mahomes likely out for 2nd straight game, when might he return?

Football fans and fantasy owners everywhere had a glimmer of hope that Patrick Mahomes would suit up for Week 9 when the Kansas City Chiefs listed him as questionable, but the team played it safe and is keeping Mahomes on the bench for another week.

That we’re even discussing Mahomes’ possible return at this point is incredible. The QB dislocated his kneecap during the Chiefs’ Week 7 game against the Denver Broncos, which is a serious injury that typically requires at least a month of recovery. Just two weeks removed from the dislocation, Mahomes starting is already a possibility.

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Mahomes’ recovery has gone better than anyone could have hoped, which is in part due to the injury itself. An MRI revealed that Mahomes avoided sustaining significant damage to his knee, which means there’s less to heal. Mahomes’ double-jointed knee also could have contributed to his quick recovery.

The Chiefs are still being careful with their franchise quarterback, but with Mahomes’ recovery going like gangbusters, it’s time to look at when he might return to the field. The possibility that he could have returned in Week 9 makes it seem like he’s close to being at full strength, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported last week that Mahomes is feeling great.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes won't play in Week 9, but it's possible he could return in Week 10. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes won't play in Week 9, but it's possible he could return in Week 10. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Mahomes is feeling great enough to have been a limited participant in practice this past week, and if he keeps progressing, it’s possible that he could return for the Chiefs’ Week 10 game against the Tennessee Titans. According to Rapoport, Mahomes has a “realistic shot” of playing that week.

It’s a difficult decision for the Chiefs, made even more difficult by the timing and location of their upcoming games. If their bye was coming in the next 1-2 weeks, that would give Mahomes a free week of recovery before the Chiefs jump into the thick of the back half of their schedule. Instead, the Chiefs have their bye in Week 12, long after when Mahomes wants to return. Their Monday night Week 11 game is in Mexico City, which may not be the best time and place to come back — Mexico City is over 7,000 feet above sea level, 2,000 feet higher than Denver. That’s a tough environment for any NFL player.

All signs point to a Week 10 return for Mahomes, but that will be dictated by how his knee has healed. The Chiefs want to get their franchise quarterback back onto the field, but not at the cost of his future health.

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