Chiefs' Mahomes says ankle will be ready for Super Bowl
By DAVE SKRETTA
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Patrick Mahomes says he's "definitely in a better spot" when it comes to his ailing right ankle than he was for the AFC championship game, and the All-Pro quarterback doesn't expect to be limited by it when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Mahomes said before Wednesday's practice at Arizona State's facility that he continues to get treatment on the ankle, which he hurt in the divisional round against Jacksonville, and that it will probably continue up until Sunday's kickoff.
"You won't know exactly how it is until you get to game day," he said. "I mean, I definitely move around better than I was moving last week or two weeks ago. So it's just trying to continue to get the treatment and the rehab and get it as close to 100% and then rely on some adrenaline to let me do a little bit extra when I'm on the field."
Mahomes hurt the ankle when a Jaguars pass rusher landed on it late in the first quarter. X-rays taken during the game came back negative, and he returned in the second half to lead Kansas City to the 27-20 victory.
Mahomes spent the next week getting treatment on the ankle, and he credited trainers Rick Burkholder and Julie Frymyer with getting him in shape to play for the AFC title. And while he was clearly hobbled by the high ankle sprain, and several times limped away from hits, Mahomes was available against Cincinnati when the Chiefs needed him at the end.
It was Mahomes who sprinted on his sore ankle in the closing seconds, then took a big late hit along the sideline, getting Kansas City within range of Harrison Butker's 45-yard field goal that punched its ticket back to the Super Bowl.
"He's been doing really well with his ankle," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. "We had a fast practice a couple days ago and he moved well. He can really do just about everything - at least everything in the game plan we asked him to do."
Still, concern about Mahomes' ankle persists. When Missouri Chief Justice Paul Wilson delivered his annual State of the Judiciary speech Wednesday to the Missouri Legislature, he added a twist to the typical closing line.
"May God bless each of you, may God continue to bless the great state of Missouri and, of course, may God bless Patrick Mahomes' right ankle," Wilson said to resounding applause from state lawmakers.
Back in Arizona, the Chiefs had everyone available as they ramped up with a more intense practice Wednesday.
That included JuJu Smith-Schuster, who missed practice last week with swelling in his knee, and fellow wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who likewise skipped all the workouts in Kansas City with a sprained ankle. It also included cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, who cleared the concussion protocol this week and returned to practice.
All three of those players, along with linebacker Willie Gay Jr., were hurt in the AFC championship game. Gay came away with a relatively minor shoulder injury and practiced last week along with this week.
The Chiefs also are keeping a close eye on running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was activated off injured reserve when wide receiver Mecole Hardman went on IR with a pelvis injury this week. The 2020 first-round pick has been out since November with a high ankle sprain, but there's a chance Edwards-Helaire could be active for the Super Bowl.
If active, he would give the Chiefs a change-of-pace back behind Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon.
Associated Press writer David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, contributed to this report.
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Updated February 9, 2023