NFL notebook: Chiefs’ Mahomes to practice as usual on sprained ankle

NFL notebook: Chiefs’ Mahomes to practice as usual on sprained ankle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes walked through Arrowhead Stadium as if nothing had happened on Wednesday, his sprained right ankle barely hampering the All-Pro quarterback as he began to prepare for the AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mahomes went through a normal morning visit and then headed into an afternoon practice with the rest of the Chiefs, four days after a Jacksonville pass rusher landed on his ankle and forced him to hobble off the field in pain.

“AFC Championship week,” Mahomes said with a smile. “I’m ready to go.”

Mahomes was injured late in the first quarter of the Chiefs’ 27-20 win over the Jaguars on Saturday. X-rays during the game came back negative and Mahomes returned in the second half to lead the Chiefs to a berth in their fifth straight conference title game – and a Sunday night rematch with the Bengals, who beat them to a place last year. Super Bowl.

Mahomes began treatment after the game and an MRI on Sunday showed no structural damage.

“The last few days have been a whole day,” Mahomes said, “where you’re doing treatment and rehab and watching a movie. You’re trying to make sure you’re ready for the Bengals, a great football team, mentally and physically.

Mahomes ran without any apparent lameness Wednesday in the brief portion of practice open to local reporters.

He said the injury was similar to the one he suffered at the start of the 2019 season, when Mahomes returned the following week to throw four touchdown passes in a win over the Raiders. The only difference is that it’s the opposite peg.

It’s not as bad as a toe injury Mahomes suffered earlier in his career.

“He had a few injuries in college that he went through,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “In the NFL, with all the games you play, you very rarely get to this point without having something. That’s how it goes.

Reid said he doesn’t plan to hold Mahomes back in training this week, although Chad Henne may get a few extra reps in training. The 37-year-old backup led the Chiefs on a 12-game, 98-yard touchdown against the Jaguars while Mahomes was checked late in the first half.

“Most likely, he won’t do just a little. I don’t think I’m going to have to go with that,” Reid said of Mahomes. “I might have to back him off a bit. But knowing him, I think he will try to do everything.

Mahomes also expects to train as usual, although he admitted the plan could change if there is any soreness after a training session. The Chiefs also practice Thursday and Friday, although the last of the week is more of a walkthrough.

“We’ll see throughout the week,” Mahomes said. “I’ve done limited stuff in a small box of what I can do, but I’m going to push today and the next day and the next day again, not to make the injury worse but to see what I can do.”

When asked what it meant to see his ailing frontman enter the field, Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster replied, “It pretty much shows how much heart he has for his team and how not he loves everyone.”

“Even that last game, as he was going through his whole process,” Smith-Schuster said, “we could see he was fighting.”

Mahomes is winless in three tries against Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow, which includes last year’s AFC title game when the Chiefs quarterback played poorly in the streak and they lost a 21-3 lead in a 27-24 overtime loss.

“It’s about being a competitor. You want to be out there, especially in these games,” Mahomes said. “You come to game day, you just have to focus on the game. That’s what I’m going to try to do. Try to prepare my body as best I can.

AWARDS: Jalen Hurts, Justin Jefferson and Patrick Mahomes are finalists for the Associated Press’ 2022 NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards.

The winners will be announced during the NFL Honors on February 9. A national panel of 50 members of the media who regularly cover the league completed the voting before the start of the playoffs.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Bengals QB Joe Burrow are also finalists for MVP.

Hurts had 3,701 passing yards, 760 rushing yards and 35 combined touchdowns, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 14-3 regular season record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Eagles (15-3) are in the NFC Championship Game for the second time in six seasons.

Jefferson led the NFL with 128 receptions and 1,809 yards in his third season with the Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson was one of two unanimous picks for AP All-Pro along with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, helped Kansas City go 14-3 to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs (15-3) are in the AFC title game for the fifth straight season. They will host the Bengals. Mahomes led the NFL with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. He received 49 of 50 first-team AP All-Pro votes.

San Francisco 49ers rusher Nick Bosa, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and Dallas Cowboys rusher Micah Parsons are finalists for AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Bosa led the NFL with 18 1/2 sacks, Jones had 15 1/2 and Parsons had 14 1/2.

Brian Daboll, Doug Pederson and Kyle Shanahan are the finalists for the AP Coach of the Year award. Daboll led the New York Giants to a 9-7-1 record in his first season as head coach. Pederson guided the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 9-8 record and an AFC South title in his first year with the team. Shanahan led the San Francisco 49ers to a 13-4 mark, including 5-0 in the streak with third-string rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.

Purdy, Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III and New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson are the finalists for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Purdy, the last player selected in the draft, started the season as a third-string QB and stepped in after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. He led San Francisco to a 5-0 record in the streak, two playoff wins and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia.

Walker led all rookies with 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson led all rookies with 83 catches and 1,103 receiving yards.

Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen are the finalists for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith are finalists for AP Comeback Player of the Year.

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen are the finalists for AP Assistant Coach of the Year.

It was the first year of the new PA voting system. Voters chose a top 5 for MVP and a top 3 for all other awards. For MVP, first place was worth 10 points. Second through fifth place votes were worth 5, 3, 2, and 1 points.

For all other awards, votes for first place were worth 5 points, second place was 3, and third place was 1.

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