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Patrick Mahomes looks good in Chiefs practice, raising expectations he’ll play in Sunday

Patrick Mahomes had to be helped off the field in last Sunday's win over the Browns.
Patrick Mahomes had to be helped off the field in last Sunday's win over the Browns.Jamie Squire/Getty

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes took the majority of first-team reps in practice Thursday, even though he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, raising expectations that he will start in the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Mahomes was initially listed as a full participant when he returned to practice Wednesday, but the Chiefs quickly corrected his status to limited because he remains in the protocol. He must be cleared by team physicians and an independent neural consult before the reigning Super Bowl MVP can be a full participant in practice or play in a game.

“Pat looked good out there. He did a nice job when he was doing it and looks like he’s moving around well,” coach Andy Reid said. “He feels good, so it’s just important that we follow the protocol and that’s what we’re doing.”

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Mahomes sustained the concussion when he was tackled on a quarterback option midway through the third quarter of the Chiefs’ 22-17 divisional-round win over the Browns last Sunday. Chad Henne finished the game with Matt Moore backing him up, and the two veteran journeymen would be next in line if Mahomes was not cleared to play.

“I mean, during the game, when somebody of his caliber and the leader of the team goes down, you’re all in shock: ‘Hold on, is that Pat right there?’ ” Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman said. “It’s a shock at first, but in the game it’s next man up. Chad came in and did a great job. And as far as now, they’re going to take him through the protocol.”

Chad Henne saw time in relief of Pat Mahomes last weekend against the Browns.
Chad Henne saw time in relief of Pat Mahomes last weekend against the Browns.Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire practiced for the second straight day as he comes back from a high ankle sprain he sustained in Week 15, as did wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has been out with a calf injury since Week 16.

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Edwards-Helaire had the fourth-most yards from scrimmage among rookies with 1,100 this season, despite missing three full games and part of another. Watkins provides another downfield playmaker alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, which should limit the Bills defense — led by second-team All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White — from double coverage.

Running back Le’Veon Bell, who played sparingly behind Darrel Williams last week, did not work out Thursday after his knee swelled up following the previous day’s workout. Rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr. (ankle) also remained out.

The only other injury uncertainty facing the Chiefs involves cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who also was concussed during the Browns game. Much like Mahomes, he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday but has not been cleared for full practice or a game, though Reid indicated that his top cornerback is trending in the right direction.