Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes returned to the practice field Wednesday as he continues progressing through the NFL’s concussion protocols with optimism persisting he will be ready to play in Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills.
Head coach Andy Reid said Mahomes “looked good” in the limited duties he took part in on Wednesday. The Chiefs listed initially listed Mahomes as a full participant in Wednesday’s light no-contact workout but later clarified he was a limited participant.
“He’s in the protocol, so there’s only certain things he can do, and it’s a limited basis but today is a little bit limited practice,” Reid said. “This fit right into what he could do. But he took all the snaps and he feels good. We’re just going to follow this protocol as close as we possibly can.”
Mahomes entered the NFL’s concussion protocol on Sunday after appearing wobbly on the field following a tackle by Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson.
The Chiefs have not specifically identified a concussion as the injury afflicting Mahomes, however, players can enter the protocol due to signs of a stinger or a nerve pinch injury. The sideline unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant can also initiate the protocol.
Once in the protocol, a player must complete the league’s five-phase return-to-participation protocol. The phases include symptom-limited activity (phase 1), aerobic exercise (phase 2), football-specific exercise (phase 3), club-based non-contact training drills (phase 4) and full football activity/clearance.
Mahomes must receive clearance from the club physician and an independent neurological consultant before returning to full football activities.
Reid did not specify which phase Mahomes has entered but the description of his practice activity is consistent with both phase 3 and phase 4. The held a brief indoor practice on Wednesday without pads and contact. The real test comes on Thursday when the Chiefs hold their longer full-contact practice leading up to Sunday’s game.
In the meantime, Mahomes will progress through the protocol, Reid said
“He’s done well up to this point, and they just progress you through the days,” Reid said, “So today was limited work and no contact, I think was the schedule for today, and that’s kind of what we’re doing on Wednesdays so it fit in perfectly with that.”