Chiefs’ Travis Kelce injury: What happens to a hyperextended knee and the prognosis

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A topic of discussion on an ESPN talk show a few weeks ago was whether the Chiefs rely too much on tight end Travis Kelce.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they may find out if that’s the case Thursday night, when they play host to the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Kickoff Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid announced Tuesday that Kelce had hyperextended a knee during practice and his status is unknown for Thursday evening’s game.

What is a hyperextended knee?

This type of injury happens when the knee bends too far backward, often when someone is hit by another player.

“A hyperextended knee is really sort of an older term that a lot of football coaches used when a player would injure their knee,” Dr. Chuck Pearce of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said in a YouTube video. “It’s a very common injury, of course, especially in football.”

The Cleveland Clinic noted it is “rare to need surgery” after such an injury, but it can happen if there is structural damage to the knee. said the injury occurs when the “knee joint is forced to extend beyond its normal range of motion. In these instances, a large amount of stress is put upon one or more of the four major ligaments of the knee joint: medial collateral ligament (MCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).”

What is the prognosis?

The Cleveland Clinic says that in mild cases, a hyperextended knee can simply be treated at home with rest, ice, a compression wrap and elevation of the leg.

NFL players who have had this injury have played through the pain.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields suffered a hyperextended knee during a 2021 contest against the Raiders. He never left the game and started the following week.

Last December, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a “slight” hyperextended knee and didn’t miss any playing time.

This is the type of prognosis the Chiefs will be hoping for with Kelce.

The Cleveland Clinic noted recovery for a non-athlete should take a few weeks to a month.

Update: The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Kelce’s status for Thursday’s game is in question because his knee is swollen, but Rapoport added it is “not believed to be a long-term injury.”