Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce suffered a hyper-extended knee and a bone bruise during practice on Tuesday. At least initially, it seemed as if this would be a multi-week injury.
While that might not be the case, Kansas City has ruled Kelce out for Thursday’s season opener against the Detroit Lions. The All-Pro tight end had made a strong push to play, but the short turnaround time from the injury and Thursday’s game made it nearly impossible.
Typically, injuries of this ilk cost a player multiple weeks of action. But Kelce himself is a different breed. He’s missed only three games to injury over the past five seasons despite being hobbled at times.
Travis Kelce stats (2022): 110 receptions, 1,338 yards, 12 TD, 72.4% catch rate
To say that Kelce’s absence is going to be big for Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs would be an understatement. He’s been Mahomes’ favorite target over the past several years, tallying at least 1,125 yards each season since Mahomes’ first season as a starter back in 2018.
With Kelce sidelined against Detroit, the expectation is that young tight end Noah Gray will see an uptick in targets. He’s caught just 35 passes in two seasons since Kansas City made the Duke product a fifth-round pick back in 2021.
Kansas City also lost wide receivers Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency. This will lead to Mahomes relying more on youngsters such as Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney against the Lions.