Quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start for the Chiefs when they visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, head coach Andy Reid said on Friday.
“Unless something happens here, he will be the guy that plays,” Reid said.
Mahomes missed the last two games after suffering a dislocated right knee cap on Oct. 17 in 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos. Mahomes crossed the three-week mark since suffering the injury, which is generally considered a threshold at which point the risk of re-injury to the knee drops significantly.
The quarterback said the team consulted with specialists regarding his rehab and recovery and put a plan in place for getting him back on the field quickly. The team's medical and training staff told him this game was the likely return date if he progressed during his rehab as expected and didn't have any setbacks during practice this week.
“Coach Reid wanted me to kind of still take it day-by-day,” Mahomes said. “I went out here and practiced and took the reps and I haven't had any pains or any setbacks. As long as we keep going with that, I'm glad to be going back out there.”
Mahomes has been wearing a brace on the right knee during practice the past three weeks of practice, and expects to wear it on Sunday as well.
“It's not a permanent thing,” Mahomes said. “I kind of use it as confidence for myself I guess you would say. Just consulting with the doctors, probably have to wear it this week, but as the season goes on kind of get that off.”
Mahomes said he felt a shot of adrenaline when the injury occurred during a quarterback sneak in Denver. He immediately knew something was wrong.
I didn't know exactly what it was, I just knew I couldn't straighten my leg,” Mahomes said. “I looked over and saw my kneecap a little out of place. I just sat there, didn't want to move, the doctor came out, put it back in. I took those first few steps, and it was kind of like gingerly walking, then I realized I didn't have much pain at all if any.”
Mahomes describes the injury as a fluke, but he doesn't fear the chance of re-injury.
“Whenever you're on that football field, there's always a chance of injury,” Mahomes said. “As long as I'm function, I'm moving around the right way, then I think I can go out there and play.”
The quarterback said there was one specific play he wanted to make sure he could make before getting back into the lineup.
"We put me on the run and I threw it across my body and did all the stuff that I've grown to do as I've been in the NFL and my whole career," Mahomes said. "I didn't have any pain, I was still able to do it. I was still able to throw it across my body, and I wanted to make sure I was able to do that before I got back on that field."
Reid did rule out defensive end Alex Okfar for Sunday's game. He missed last week week's game as well with a high ankle sprain.