Kansas City Chiefs
As we know, injured players and absent parties can have a significant impact on the ultimate destination of the Super Bowl trophy, so how have the Kansas City Chiefs shaped up for Super Bowl LIV?
Are Any Key Players Currently Injured
The issue keeping Chiefs’ supporters awake at night is the knee injury suffered by Travis Kelce.
The tight end is the premier receiver in the Chiefs’ roster and the key figure that Patrick Mahomes tends to fire his laser-like passes too. His three touchdowns in the postseason shake-up also proved to be integral to their run to a first Super Bowl in five decades, and if they are to live up to their tag as sportsbook favourites they will need him on the field.
Kelce was listed on the team’s injury report of January 22, but it is known that he has been struggling with the ailment for a few weeks now and continues to play effectively despite it.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones has also been put on light duties as he continues to battle with a calf complaint. Like Kelce, this isn’t a new injury for Jones, and he was active in the AFC Championship win over the Titans. In both cases, inactivity in training is for precautionary reasons, rather than anything untoward.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid confirmed that the reason Demarcus Robinson has missed training is due to illness.
Intriguingly, both LeSean McCoy and Matt Moore missed the victory over the Titans with ‘illness’, so you do have to wonder whether there is some kind of bug in the Chiefs’ camp.
How Will These Injuries Affect The Team?
Although it seemed unlikely given the diagnosis, if Kelce had missed the Super Bowl, his absence would have been a huge blow to the Chiefs. He delivered nearly 400 more receiving yards than any other Kansas player during the regular season, and only Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman crossed the end zone for more touchdowns than Kelce.
The Chiefs aren’t shy of offensive options, so Mahomes still has the likes of Hill, Sammy Watkins and Damien Williams to aim for. But Kelce has been a tour de force this season, and his absence would mean that Reid would have to turn to fringe players Deon Yelder or Blake Bell – who have barely featured this term – at tight end.
San Francisco 49ers
For many players, chances to play in a Super Bowl don’t come along all that often. So, everyone on the San Francisco 49ers roster will be desperate to play their part at the Hard Rock Stadium – how did they look in for the big day?
Are Any Key Players Currently Injured?
The major news emanating from the 49ers’ camp relates to their running back, Tevin Coleman. He was carted off the field in the NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers on January 19, and it would later emerge that the 26-year-old had dislocated his right shoulder.
Michael Gleiber MD has reported that the average recovery time from a shoulder dislocation, for the joint to fully heal, is 4-12 weeks, and so Coleman’s place in the 49ers’ starting line-up is surely in jeopardy.
Coleman was unsurprisingly listed as a ‘non-participant’ in training as part of the mandatory January 22 estimated injury report that both teams have had to file. In that report, question marks were also placed against the names of Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Jaquiski Tartt.
Alexander and Ford both played their part in the playoff games but suffered pectoral and hamstring strains respectively. Their participation in training has been limited, but both are expected to be fit for February 2.
As for Tartt, rib injuries tend to take some time to heal – especially in such a high-impact sport, and the fracture that kept him sidelined towards the end of the regular season appears to have reared its head once more. However, coach Kyle Shanahan is positive in his outlook. “I know he [Tartt] irritated the same area, but no new damage,” he said. The coach also confirmed that he expects his safety man to be ready for the big game.
How Will These Injuries Affect The Team?
With Coleman’s fitness very much up in the air, Shanahan will have to find a ‘Plan B’ in terms of his offensive play. That said, when you have a Plan A like Raheem Mostert, that’s no big deal. The running back ran the second-most yards in NFL play-off history against Green Bay – 220 in all, in fact, while crossing the end zone an incredible four times: the most touchdowns in an NFC Championship match ever.
Coleman has played second fiddle to Mostert all season long, and while he possesses the ability to break lines and score points, Shanahan knows that he has Matt Breida up his sleeve. Breida turned in more rushing yards than Coleman in the regular season and a better yards gained percentage than the man he is likely to replace in the Super Bowl, so 49ers supporters won’t be losing sleep there.
When we talk about the 49ers’ defence, we have to remember that this is an extraordinary unit as a whole, rather than a collection of top-class individuals.
So the likes of Alexander and Ford can be replaced, and while Tartt is something of a specialist at safety, Shanahan knows that Marcell Harris – who would deputise for Tartt if he doesn’t recover from his rib injury – is a safe pair of hands himself.
In conclusion, the 49ers are not inconvenienced too greatly by the injuries in their camp.