The Kansas City Chiefs will likely be without Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito for the remainder of the season.
Johnson and DeVito both ruptured an Achilles tendon during Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
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The injuries, which occurred just one quarter apart, happened at virtually the same spot on the field and with almost nobody around them.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the pair will be evaluated overnight, but he acknowledged after the lopsided loss that the injuries are almost certain to be season-ending.
"We’ll see what happens," Reid said. "I expect other players to step up and do the job."
Meanwhile, the Titans made it through the game virtually injury-free. Linebacker Zach Brown left early in the game with a left shoulder injury, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said he’ll have an MRI on Monday. Otherwise, everybody came out of the game in relatively good shape.
If only that was the case for the Chiefs, who were uncommonly healthy a year ago.
Johnson had four tackles by the time he went down late in the second quarter, giving him 985 for his career.
He needs just 15 more to break Gary Spani’s franchise record, though it appears that his chase will be on hold until the opening week of next season.
Johnson was away from the play when he suddenly fell to the ground. He didn’t appear in much pain while being tended to by a trainer, but he needed help from a cart to reach the locker room.
Then on the first series of the second half, DeVito was hurt while chasing a tackle.
Unlike his teammate, DeVito was in obvious pain while he was checked on by the medical staff, at one point burying his face in the shoulder of trainer Rick Burkholder. He was also loaded into a cart and driven away, and was on crutches in the locker room after the game.
"It’s definitely unfortunate to lose players of that caliber on this team," Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith said. "They definitely mean a lot to us as people and as players. One thing about us is we have the utmost confidence in everybody on the roster. The next guy has to step up."
The Chiefs are running out of next guys, though. They’ve already have lost middle linebacker Joe Mays to a broken wrist, and played without wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas (hamstring) and cornerback Marcus Cooper (ankle) during a lackluster season opener.
Earlier in the game, Chiefs right tackle Jeff Allen appeared to hurt his right arm and was replaced by Ryan Harris. Allen was already replacing the suspended Donald Stephenson.
"I can just pray for them and hope that they get better. I’ve been hurt before, so I know that feeling," Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said. "You always want to play — you never want to go out hurt. I’m sorry for them guys, but the next guys have to step up."