Patrick Mahomes Injury Update: Chiefs Quarterback Could Need Surgery, Miss Significant Time After Knee Injury

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs adjusts his hair on the field
Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs was taken to the locker room for X-rays after suffering an apparent knee injury on Thursday Night Football, and early indications are that the injury could be serious — and potentially call for what may be a season-ending surgery.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback seemed to be in obvious pain as he went down to the turf in the second quarter of the Chiefs game against the Denver Broncos, and medical staff who attended to Mahomes appeared to pop his dislocated kneecap back into place.

While Mahomes was able to walk under his own power to the locker room, the injury could be quite serious. Dr. David Bowers, a sports injury expert and analyst for CBS Sports, said it appeared that Mahomes may have injured his medial patellofemeral ligament (MPFL), which attaches the kneecap to the inner part of the knee.

“Right knee injury for Mahomes. Pretty clear vantage point on replay of medical team working on the knee — appears medical staff may have reduced a lateral patella dislocation,” Bowers tweeted. “Risk for ligamentous tearing MPFL with this injury.”

Dr. David Chao, a former team doctor for the Los Angeles Chargers, who now offers expert opinion on football injuries, agreed that it appeared to be a patella injury for Patrick Mahomes. Chao wrote on Twitter that the injury appeared at first glance to be major.

“By video, patella dislocation for Mahomes,” Chao wrote. “Significant injury that typically needs surgery.”

While there is still no official word on the injury Patrick Mahomes suffered, a patella tendon rupture could be devastating and have ramifications for Mahomes beyond just this season. As NFL.com noted, the injury traditionally has the lowest rate of recovery to pre-injury effectiveness, more devastating to a player’s career than even a torn ACL. Because the tendon connects the quadriceps muscle to the shin to allow the knee to flex and extend, it is integral to running and cutting, the report noted.

It has effectively ended the careers of a number of players, the 2016 report noted.

“The injury has claimed the careers of shooting stars such as ex-Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams, 2011 Cardinals second-round draft pick Ryan Williams and former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo,” the report noted. “As Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz knows all too well, overcompensating for the injured knee can often lead to an assortment of leg injuries in the ensuing years.”

The report did give some hope, noting that recent advances has allowed other players to recover from the injury to play again, including tight end Jimmy Graham, though it still took him close to 10 months to return. That offered hope that the torn patella tendon may no longer be the “career killer” it once was for NFL players.

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There were some differing opinions on Mahomes’ injury as well, including some who believed that he could be treated without surgery, though even this analysis of the injury would have him missing several weeks.

Patrick Mahomes was expected to undergo X-rays after his knee injury on Thursday. There is no word yet on when the team could release more information.