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.