The hope is that Mahomes will be able to resume playing in a few weeks, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Chiefs had not announced the results of the MRI or revealed details of Mahomes’s injury. The person confirmed reports by the NFL Network and ESPN that the results of Mahomes’s MRI were encouraging.
Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, is expected to receive opinions from other doctors. He probably will have to play with a brace on his knee, and it was not immediately clear whether he will need knee surgery after the season.
For now, backup Matt Moore takes over at quarterback for the Chiefs, who are 5-2 and next play Oct. 27 at home against the Green Bay Packers.
Mahomes entered the Chiefs’ 30-6 victory over the Broncos with an injured ankle, then hurt his right knee on a fourth-down quarterback sneak in the second quarter. Members of the Chiefs’ medical staff could be seen working on Mahomes’s knee, apparently manipulating his kneecap, on the field after the play. They accompanied Mahomes as he walked to the locker room, and the Chiefs quickly ruled out his return to the game.
Moore completed the game and threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Mahomes greeted his teammates in the locker room after the game and could be seen walking around with a brace or sleeve on his right leg.
Mahomes was the league MVP last season as a second-year pro after serving as Alex Smith’s backup as a rookie in 2017. His 2018 season was among the best in league history: He threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns.
He had been playing just as well — or perhaps better — this season. He threw a touchdown pass Thursday before his exit and has 15 touchdown passes and only one interception. He was a strong contender for another MVP award, even if he had appeared a bit less dynamic in recent weeks while dealing with his injured ankle and playing behind a depleted offensive line.
Now the NFL must deal with the loss, even if only temporarily, of another one of its biggest stars during a season in which TV ratings have been on the upswing despite officiating controversies, the highly publicized troubles of wide receiver Antonio Brown and attrition among prominent quarterbacks. Mahomes joins Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Nick Foles, Sam Darnold and Mitchell Trubisky on the list of quarterbacks who have been sidelined by injury or illness.
The Chiefs must try to find a way to remain competitive with Moore at quarterback. Behind Mahomes, they reached the AFC championship game last season before losing in overtime at home to the New England Patriots. They got off to a 4-0 start this season before enduring a two-game losing streak that ended Thursday.
Moore is a former starter for the Miami Dolphins who signed in August after Mahomes’s backup, Chad Henne, fractured his ankle. Moore last started an NFL game for the Dolphins in 2017. He also was a part-time starter for the Carolina Panthers earlier in his career, then was out of the league last season and was doing scouting work for the Dolphins and coaching high school football before the Chiefs signed him.