DENVER – Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL's reigning MVP, left the Chiefs' 30-6 win Thursday night over the Denver Broncos with a right knee injury.
X-rays confirm Mahomes suffered a patella dislocation in his right knee. There is no evidence of a break. The quarterback will undergo an MRI on Friday to examine for any ligament damage, but signs look positive so far. Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports first reported the news of a dislocated kneecap.
Head coach Andy Reid said the team wouldn't provide an official diagnosis or a forecast on his quarterback's potential return until examinations back in Kansas City on Friday. Reid said Mahomes was in good spirits and praised the team's medical staff for quick action.
"He's in a good place," Reid said. "He was in a good place on the field when it happened. He grimaced. Our doc was phenomenal in just calming everything down."
Mahomes sustained the injury on a fourth-and-1 play with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Mahomes tried a quarterback sneak for the first down, and Mahomes appeared to get tangled up with center Austin Reiter amid the pileup at the line of scrimmage.
Reiter tried to get up, but Mahomes was on his back. Teammates and officials told Reiter to stay still.
"I'm just laying on my stomach face down," Reiter said. "I just had to listen to the refs and not move. As soon as I realized it was his voice, I was like, all right, I'm not moving an inch."
Mahomes remained on the field following the play and removed his helmet before the team's athletic trainers arrived. Players from both teams took a knee on the field surrounding Mahomes as he underwent an on-field evaluation.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill said he knew something was wrong immediately.
"I kind of couldn't believe it at first," Hill said. "And then when I actually saw his knee, I kind of want to pray for him, because Pat is the hardest working dude in our locker room. You never want to see that, especially from our quarterback."
Tight end Travis Kelce said Mahomes didn't appear in too much pain, but it was evident something was wrong with his right knee.
"I saw his knee, it didn't look like a knee," Kelce said. "It was all out of whack, I couldn't even describe it. You just looked at it, you were like, there's something wrong with him."
Television cameras showed team physician Paul Schroeppel working to reposition the quarterback's right kneecap. A cart was brought on to the field, but Mahomes waved it aside. Once assisted back on his feet, Mahomes walked to the sideline with support from trainers. He eventually disregarded the assistance and walked to the locker room under his own power.
"That's a tough guy, no doubt," Reiter said. "That's one of the toughest guys I've played with for sure."
Mahomes left the game after completing 10-of-11 for 76 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 125.8. The Chiefs held a 10-6 advantage when Mahomes went down. The quarterback picked up a first down on the play in which he was hurt, and kicker Harrison Butker added a field goal extending the lead to 13-6.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore took over for Mahomes. Moore said he had a quick exchange with Mahomes before entering the game.
"I patted him on the chest when he was walking off the field and wished him well," Moore said. "That was it."
Moore said he expected Mahomes to pop backup off the field as he's done before when taking big hits, but it was quickly evident to him that wasn't the case this time.
"I just hope he's OK," Moore said. "At the same time, we have to go and win a football game, and I've been in this position before. You just kind of have to move forward and go, just wishing the best for your buddy."
Reid said he didn't have any reservations or regrets about calling for the quarterback sneak.
"Not too many people get hurt on sneaks," Reid said. It's a freak thing. It happens."
Kelce spoke for many Chiefs teammates hoping the injury won't keep Mahomes out of action for long.
"Hopefully it's something that's short term, and on top of that something where he can get back to playing football the way he knows how to."
The Chiefs stand 5-2 after the win with a one-game lead over the Oakland Raiders in the AFC West and holding the second-best record in the conference behind the 6-0 New England Patriots. The Chiefs still have lofty ambitions for 2019 that rest on Mahomes, Hill said.
"He's one of the leaders of this team and obviously we need him to get where we want to go," Hill said.