National Football League
Inside Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury, outlook for AFC title game
National Football League

Inside Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury, outlook for AFC title game

Updated Jan. 25, 2023 7:47 p.m. ET

Which two teams will face one another in the Super Bowl on February 12th in Arizona? We are just days away from finding out, with a pair of conference championship games on tap. 

One of the biggest storylines ahead of Sunday's games is the health status of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a high ankle sprain in last week's win over the Jaguars. Mahomes had a defender roll into his ankle in the first quarter, and after X-ray results were negative for a fracture, he returned to the game in clear pain and with limited mobility. But he was able to still do enough to help Kansas City advance. 

In the days since the injury, both Mahomes and Chiefs head coach Any Reid have said that the MVP candidate is improving, even adding that he would practice this entire week. Sure enough, Mahomes logged a full practice Wednesday and has come out and said he will be "ready" to go for the AFC Championship game against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals

So, what does the injury mean for Mahomes' ability to perform at a high level?


Read more: Bengals', Chiefs' fate rests upon Patrick Mahomes' injured ankle

High ankle sprains are no small injury. As we previously saw this year with Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams and Colts running back Jonathan Taylor or last year with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, it's an injury that can sideline players for multiple weeks, if severe enough. 

Most likely, if this was the regular season Mahomes would be out 1-2 games to make sure he rested and healed the injury for the remainder of the season. This is the playoffs, however, and he isn’t going to watch from the sideline if given the choice. With that said, make no mistake, Mahomes will be limited in his mobility. Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will have to scheme around that fact, and the offensive line will have to hold off the Bengals pass rush if Kansas City wants to punch a ticket to the Super Bowl. 

For Mahomes, this will be a week of around-the-clock treatment, from modalities to reduce swelling and pain to strengthening exercises, and extra ankle support during practice and for the game itself. The medical staff will be consistently making sure he has the best care possible to get him to game day so that he can compete at the highest level possible. 

'He may be a bit limited'

Dr. Matt Provencher updates Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury he suffered in the Chiefs' game against the Jaguars.

As we move closer to championship weekend, here are last week’s Banged Up Score (BUS) rankings of the four remaining teams, including on the other side of the bracket where the Eagles host the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game (3 p.m. ET on FOX). 

Kansas City Chiefs – BUS: 84.7
Cincinnati Bengals – BUS: 73.2

Philadelphia Eagles – BUS: 79.2
San Francisco 49ers – BUS: 75.5

The team with the health edge in three of the four divisional round games as measured by BUS rankings succeeded in moving to the conference championship, with only Cincinnati overcoming its health deficit to still move on. Health matters, and in the playoffs it matters more because talent levels even out and little changes in team dynamics and coaching strategies can have bigger impacts on outcomes. Team health can alter both of those factors and affect the game in significant ways. 

For the Bengals, they might be competing with the same offensive line as last week as both Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa logged a DNP on Wednesday, but only time will tell if they are able to participate in a limited fashion this week. For the Eagles, both Avonte Maddox and Lane Johnson were able to participate in a limited fashion Wednesday, which is a good sign as they stay healthy for their match-up against the 49ers. San Francisco will again be without Jimmy Garoppolo this week but could have a decision to make if he is possibly ready for the Super Bowl, should they make it that far. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was able to practice Wednesday despite having some ankle soreness, and the 49ers should have most of their same starters ready despite some guys being listed as day-to-day. 

Make sure to check Twitter on Sunday morning at @SportsDocMatt and @NFLonFOX and on for updated BUS rankings and injury news. 

Renowned orthopedist Dr. Matt Provencher and his company,, deliver data-driven injury insights to football fans. In this first-of-a-kind role as Athlete Injury and Performance Analyst for FOX Sports’ digital platforms, Provencher provides important predictive player health and recovery information about post-injury performance, the impact of weather, field conditions and more. 

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