NFL

Patrick Mahomes Has Cleared Concussion Protocol, but He’s ‘Not 100 Percent’ for the AFC Championship Thanks to a Nagging Injury

During the AFC Divisional round, Kansas City Chiefs fans saw their worst nightmare become a reality. In the third quarter of a must-win game, Patrick Mahomes struggled to get back to his feet after being wrestled to the ground; he headed to the locker room, didn’t return to action, and found himself in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

While the quarterback has made it through that process and seems prepared to play in the AFC title game, things aren’t completely perfect for Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs. Based on an NFL.com report, the quarterback won’t be 100% when he takes the field on Sunday.

Patrick Mahomes cleared the concussion protocol ahead of the AFC Championship

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While some have theorized that he suffered more of a stinger than anything else, Patrick Mahomes found himself in the NFL’s concussion protocol after the AFC Divisional round. Thankfully, for everyone associated with the Kansas City Chiefs, the quarterback progressed through the five steps of the process and should be ready to play on Sunday.

“Talking to all of the doctors and going through all of the testing, we have the belief that I’ll have no lingering effects and I’ll be able to go out there and be who I am,” Mahomes explained, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “You have to take it day by day. That’s the best thing. You can only control what you can control. For me, that was coming in every day with a positive attitude, try to make myself better, try to prepare myself as if I was going to play. Luckily enough, I haven’t had any symptoms and I’m able to play.”

Barring a last-minute audible, Mahome will be leading the Chiefs onto the field in Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. With all due respect to Chad Henne, Kansas City will need their starter; if any quarterback can put up points and turn the game into a shootout, it’s Josh Allen.

The Chiefs’ quarterback might not be at his best, though

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Once Patrick Mahomes left the game against Cleveland, his absence became the main story. Before his potential concussion, though, the quarterback was struggling with another issue.

Earlier in the game, Mahomes seemed to injure his toe; he didn’t look entirely comfortable and, as Tony Romo pointed out, he seemed to avoid putting too much pressure on that digit when throwing toward the sidelines. A week later, it’s possible that the issue still remains.

On Sunday morning, NFL.com ran a story headlined, “Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes suffering from turf toe, not 100 percent.” In the piece, Ian Rapoport explained that “sources say Mahomes was diagnosed with turf toe in his left foot.” While it doesn’t seem like the quarterback will need surgery, he’ll be re-evaluated after the season.

The injury shouldn’t keep Mahomes from playing in Sunday’s AFC Championship. At the same time, though, it’s still not an ideal diagnosis ahead of a must-win game.

The Kansas City Chiefs will gladly take whatever percentage Patrick Mahomes can give them

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While turf toe might not sound like a big deal, long-time football fans know that the injury can be pretty problematic. Your toes don’t seem important until one of them hurts; then, you’ll realize just how much they matter every time you take a step. That’s what Patrick Mahomes will be dealing with in the AFC Championship.

At this point in the season, though, Kansas City will gladly take whatever percentage of Patrick Mahomes they can get. During his relatively brief time in the NFL, we’ve seen the quarterback show an incredible knack for making big plays in big moments; even if he’s at 80% of his best, he’ll probably be more effective than any other alternatives.

Based on last season’s Super Bowl success, Patrick Mahomes is already a Kansas City Chiefs hero. If he can get the team back to the big game when he’s less than 100%, though, his legacy will only continue to grow.