Patrick Mahomes will start for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, just over two weeks after the quarterback’s season was jeopardized by a dislocated kneecap.
Mahomes never missed a practice after hurting his knee on a Thursday night against Denver, even though some thought the seriousness of the injury could sideline the league MVP for months.
But it turned out there was no structural damage, and it became a waiting game to see when Mahomes would return. He practiced on a limited basis the first week before being ruled out against Green Bay, then was limited again last week before being inactive against Minnesota.
‘‘We knew how we’ve been doing the whole process of the injury,’’ Mahomes said after Friday’s practice. ‘‘I knew I had a chance once I talked to all those doctors, and they said that as long as I was functioning well, moving well, that I could play this week.’’
Matt Moore started the past two games for Kansas City. The journeyman had been coaching high school football when the Chiefs lost backup Chad Henne to a broken ankle in the preseason and gave him a call. Moore wound up playing solidly in losing to the Packers and beating the Vikings.
His performances, along with improved play from the defensed, helped to keep the Chiefs (6-3) atop the AFC West and in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye while Mahomes was out.
Mahomes has thrown for 2,180 yards with 15 touchdowns and one interception through six-plus games, building on his record-setting debut as the starter. Even after missing more than two games, Mahomes is tied for seventh in the league in TD passes and is second in quarterback rating.
After visiting Tennessee on Sunday, the Chiefs head to Mexico City to face the Chargers the following week, before finally getting their bye. That would give Mahomes two weeks to test out his knee, then a much-needed week off to rest and recover before the final stretch.
‘‘It was kind of a fluke thing,’’ said Mahomes, who will be wearing a brace on the right knee. ‘‘I guess I’ll always be a tad higher [risk of dislocating it] than the regular person, but whenever you’re on that football field, there’s always a chance of injury. As long as I’m functioning, I’m moving around the right way, I can go out and play.’’
Williams won’t get paid
The Redskins have elected not to pay Trent Williams the remaining $5.1 million balance on his 2019 base salary, according to two people with knowledge of the decision, which came a day after the team announced it was placing the tackle on the non-football injury list.
The team has the right to withhold the salary for players on the non-football injury list, according to NFL rules. Even so, the NFL Players Association is expected to fight the decision as Williams is likely to file a grievance with the league.
Williams ended a five-month holdout shortly before the NFL trade deadline in an attempt to accrue another season toward the end of his contract and be eligible for free agency after next season.
When asked if he was disappointed or surprised by the Redskins’ decision, Williams told ESPN it was combination of the two.
“I mean it’s a little bit of both,” Williams said. “You expect it and it’s still disappointing. It is what it is. That’s their option.”
Williams is unsure of what his next step is, however.
“I don’t know what options I have, I will probably lean on the [players’ association] for that,” Williams said. “I don’t know much more about it.”
Vikings’ Thielen out
The Vikings ruled receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) out for Sunday night at Dallas, increasing the possibility the two-time Pro Bowl pick will rest for the Nov. 17 game against Denver. With the bye after that, Thielen would get four weeks of recuperation before the Dec. 1 game at Seattle . . . The Jets expect Le’Veon Bell to be in the backfield when they square off against the Giants. Sam Darnold and the offense could also have tight end Chris Herndon on the field for the first time this season. Both Bell (knee, ankle) and Herndon (hamstring) were listed as questionable for the game Sunday at MetLife Stadium, but both took positive steps this week at practice . . . After taking steps back in his recovery from a shoulder injury, Steelers running back James Conner will miss Sunday’s game against the Rams. Added to the Steelers’ injury report was wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is questionable with a foot injury. The injury first appeared on Friday’s practice report, and he was a limited participant in the final practice of the week . . . Quarterback Matt Ryan has been removed from the Falcons’ injury report and appears set to play against the Saints. Ryan had only limited participation in Friday’s practice. But that was enough for coach Dan Quinn to say the veteran quarterback was ready for Sunday’s game. A sprained right ankle forced Ryan to miss his first game since 2009 in the Falcons’ loss to Seattle two weeks ago.
Falk files grievance
Luke Falk, a second-year quarterback who started two games for the Jets earlier this season before being released last month, has filed an injury grievance against the team, the New York Daily News reported. Falk, who was released by the team after starting quarterback Sam Darnold returned after missing three games with mono, is claiming that he has an injury. Falk’s name did not appear on the team’s injury report during his final week with the team. Falk is the second Jets player this season that has filed an injury grievance with the team. Veteran offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, who was released by the team after undergoing surgery without their authorization, filed a grievance against the Jets last month . . . The Browns signed steady center JC Tretter to a three-year, $32.5 million contract extension. Tretter has started all 40 games — and not missed one play— since signing with Cleveland as a free agent before the 2017 season. The 28-year-old, who spent his first three NFL seasons with Green Bay, has helped solidify a Cleveland offensive line that lost 10-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas before last season and has struggled this year. Tretter’s deal includes $23 million guaranteed.