Patrick Mahomes has been nursing a high ankle sprain since suffering the injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round. We saw the star quarterback battle through the injury in the AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was able to move enough during that game to lead his team to the Super Bowl, but was clearly hampered by the ankle and even appeared to have re-aggravated it while backpedaling after throwing the ball during one play. With Super Bowl LVII (6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App) just days away, the question is how will the ankle impact his game against the Philadelphia Eagles? Mahomes has come out and said that he is “feeling better than last game,” and that “he will push it but with the talent around him the key is to not do too much.” I couldn’t agree with him more as over-pushing the ankle could cause a worse re-aggravation and one that could force him to the sidelines if bad enough.
High ankle sprains are much worse than your typical low ankle sprains due to the ligament known as the syndesmosis that is injured, and the pain, instability and swelling that comes with it. The syndesmosis is very painful when injured, and is critical for ankle joint stability, which helps with cutting and running. Two ligaments above the ankle joint occasionally need to be surgically stabilized, just like Cooper Kupp and Tony Pollard experienced this year. Our data shows that quarterbacks who suffer this injury usually miss 2-3 weeks if the injury doesn’t require surgery. Because Mahomes couldn’t get the rest he needed, chances are that he hasn’t healed fully and will still be limited in his mobility on Sunday.
When returning from this type of injury there is around a 25-30 percent decrease in on-field production, mostly in the run game for a mobile QB, as well as for evading pressure. With Mahomes already having played one game with the injury, wit appeared he wasn’t as agile as normal but was still able to run when needed. The Kansas City offensive line will have to step up and protect their QB, giving him ample time in the pocket to throw. If the Eagles defense can force Mahomes out of the pocket, it could mean big problems for the Chiefs. Mahomes will play Sunday, there is no doubt about that, and barring a re-injury he should be effective if his line can give him enough time to keep a strong defensive rush at bay.