KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second straight day as Ankle Watch 2023 continues, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid opened his press conference by telling reporters, “I don’t have any injuries for you.”
Chiefs Kingdom held its collective breath in the first quarter last Saturday when quarterback (and presumptive NFL MVP) Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the AFC Divisional win against Jacksonville.
Mahomes was a full participant Wednesday as the Chiefs returned to practice for an AFC Championship Game rematch Sunday against Cincinnati.
“He did a nice job and felt good today, did the walk-through, so he’s on track,” Reid said.
He added that Mahomes wasn't limited at practice, nor was the team’s preparation despite the injury.
“For the most part, we’re doing the same things that we would normally do,” Reid said.
Reid noted that “it was impressive to see everybody lift their game up” after Mahomes was injured last week.
The Divisional against the Jaguars was "unique" and "difficult," according to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, because the team was making sure Mahomes was OK.
Mahomes said Tom Brady reached out to him after last week's win giving encouragement and advice.
"Why wouldn't you want to learn from the GOAT?" Mahomes said.
A short clip surfaced of Mahomes walking off the podium without a limp or a walking boot after his portion of Wednesday's media availability, which he brushed off the next day while talking to reporters.
“I’ve seen all the videos of me walking. I don’t know what you can tell about it from me walking," Mahomes said.
Mahomes said Thursday’s practice will be “harder” with “more speed,” so it will be “another test” of the injured ankle and his progress toward playing.
“Obviously, I still feel like I can do a lot of things,” Mahomes said.
He added that he hopes adrenaline kicks in during Sunday’s game, allowing him to play at the top of his game and make all throws — including the second-reaction plays off scrambles that he’s become known for in his NFL career.
“I think progressively I’ve gotten better throughout the week,” Mahomes said.
Mahomes arrives early for treatment, goes through various meetings, attends to myriad media responsibilities, goes through more rehab to prepare for practice, has additional treatment after practice while watching film and wears a healing device as he sleeps.
“Then, you wake up and do it all over again, so it’s a full day’s schedule,” Mahomes said. “Brittany’s taking that mom to even a higher level this week. I haven’t been home a ton.”
The couple’s second child, son Bronze, was born in late November before the Chiefs’ game on Dec. 4 at Cincinnati.
Bieniemy called Mahomes "competitive" and complimented his mental fortitude while recovering from his injury.
"He just refuses to accept that he's not going to put himself out there to be with his teammates," Bieniemy said. "You love that about him."
Bieniemy couldn't give a straight answer on why Mahomes has recovered so quickly.
"I have no idea but I want whatever he's taking," Bieniemy said.
If for some reason Mahomes doesn't hit the field Sunday, Bieniemy isn't stressed over the alternative.
"We also know Chad (Henne) has done an outstanding job as well, so we'll be OK," Bieniemy said with a smile.