Conference Championship Injury Watch: Patrick Mahomes, Antonio Brown
Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis. Read his Conference Championship Injury Watch, which focuses on the Patrick Mahomes injury update on his place in concussion protocol.
Conference Championship Injury Watch
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: Concussion protocol/turf toe
The NFL world stopped spinning Sunday when Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes required the assistance of training staff to leave the field with a dazed look on his face.
He was escorted to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion, eventually ruled out, and officially entered into the concussion protocol. Not only is Mahomes dealing with navigating through the league’s protocol, but he is also coming off a foot/toe injury sustained earlier in the game.
Both of these injuries could have serious implications for Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. While information is constantly changing, there are several non-disputable facts:
- Mahomes was evaluated for a concussion due to his presentation following the play.
- He has since entered the league’s concussion protocol. There does not have to be a diagnosis of a concussion in order to enter the protocol. While the possible cause of injury could affect his availability, any symptoms could impact his ability to get cleared. Just because he doesn’t have an official concussion doesn’t mean that he would necessarily return quicker.
- He must progress through the 5-stage NFL concussion protocol without recurrence of symptoms at every stage and be cleared by an independent neurologist as the final step.
Concussion protocol can take between 7-10 days to return to play which gives Mahomes the ability to return in time for Sunday. While it is not certain whether he plays due to the unpredictable nature of the concussion protocol, there will be several things to watch for in practice and reports.
If he is DNP or limited Wednesday on the injury report, but off to the side working with the training staff, that may indicate Stage 3. If he is practicing with the team drills and throwing, that may indicate Stage 4 with a limited designation.
If he is going through the entirety of practice and is designated as full, then he either has passed the concussion protocol or is able to be evaluated to be cleared. The team has the benefit to wait until potentially Sunday morning to clear him to play later that day considering they play at home.
I want to lean toward that he does play, but there is simply too much unknown information to make a clear cut determination on his status.
Mahomes is also dealing with a toe/foot injury sustained while throwing his second touchdown of the day. He was hit and spun around, striking his left foot behind him, bending the toe into extension forcefully. He was assessed on the sideline before returning to play, at times limping through the game.
Based on video and reports, it appears as though he suffered a turf toe injury. While this may be a minimal sprain, it can still impact him for Sunday’s game. Despite the team taping and stabilizing the area with inserts in the shoe, he will still likely have issues scrambling in the pocket. He will have trouble pushing off the first step from the left foot and extending plays secondary to the pain and instability within the area.
As for staying in the pocket and throwing, this will be less affected, but as he is right-handed, he has to shift his weight forward as he throws onto his left foot. As the game progresses, he may have difficulty in finishing his throws, potentially letting some balls possibly drifting higher leading to overthrows and potential interceptions.
Looking at everything as a whole, the concussion is the short term issue, the toe is the long term issue.
Determining betting strategies, the Bills are a hot team and could overtake the Chiefs especially with Josh Allen being much healthier following a left shoulder injury in Week 4. They will also have Matt Milano, Tre’Davious White, and John Brown on the injury report; they all missed Week 5 due to pectoral, back, and knee injuries respectively.
While the Chiefs are favored at (-3), Mahomes’ status could change that line significantly which could affect when you place your bet.
Looking at the betting lines on PointsBet, if you want to win big, take the Bills to cover the spread or outright take the money line. If you’re more conservative to get a potentially safe bet, place your bets late on the money line on the Chiefs if Mahomes is cleared, or take the Bills early to get a more favorable line.
Watch the practice reports this week and take it day-by-day. Trying to jump the gun may get you a bad bet if you’re favoring the Chiefs. Look at the Bills if you want a hot, healthy team that is on a mission.
Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Right knee injury
The veteran wideout suffered a right knee injury during the divisional-round win over the Saints Sunday. It’s not clear when he injured the knee, but an MRI after the game revealed that this is a minor injury and that he is day-to-day. At this stage in the playoffs, he’s not missing the game and hopefully is more effective than last week.
Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.
Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.
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After reading the NFL Conference Championship Injury Watch and Patrick Mahomes injury update: