The Super Bowl. It’s the biggest game of a professional American football player’s life. In the case of players for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, it’s also the 19th game of the season. Considering the intense competition and punishment that these athletes sustain each week, it’s no surprise that if and/or when they make it to the big show, they’re a little banged up! Read on as we review some key players’ injuries and their outlook for the game on Sunday…
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
The injury: The reigning Associated Press NFL MVP sustained a gnarly knee injury in week 7 of the regular season when he dislocated his patella on a QB sneak against the Denver Broncos. Most medical experts agree that, for a first-time dislocation occurrence like Mahomes’, initial conservative treatment is best–typically rest, immobilization, and physical therapy.
Mahomes, being the athlete that he is, returned to play Week 10 and didn’t miss a beat. NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported from the Chiefs that “he has loose ligaments… that’s why (when) the kneecap dislocated, it only compromised one ligament… which is something that rarely happens.” EXCEL Rutherford physical therapist Kevin Lapham, PT, DPT weighs in, “With less structural damage there is less knee inflammation, which is probably why he was able to return so quickly.”
The outlook: Considering that Mahomes has been playing at 100% since his Week 10 appearance, we think he will be good to go for SBLIV.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The injury: During the 2018-2019 campaign, the franchise quarterback of the 49ers sustained a season-ending knee injury. In Week 3 playing against the Patriots, Jimmy G took an awkward step and suffered a noncontact valgus anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. ACL injuries can take more than a year to return from, but Garoppolo was ready to go for the start of the 2019-2020 season.
After the NFC Divisional game against the Vikings, Garoppolo gave a shout out to Donjoy, a custom knee brace manufacturer, for protecting his knee. The brace certainly seemed to come in handy again during the NFC Conference Championship when Packers’ lineman, Kenny Clark, came in for a tackle a little low.
The outlook: According to EXCEL Oakland Clinic Director Jeff Ziegler, PT, MSPT, Jimmy G should have “no issue. He has played out all season and certainly doesn’t seem to be apprehensive.” We agree that fans are in for a treat watching these two dynamic quarterbacks go at it.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
The injury: We’re not going off a lot here, but Travis Kelce had reportedly NOT been practicing until Friday last week due to a knee injury. There has been no elaboration on what kind of knee injury he is suffering from, and we fans will likely never find out any more.
What we DO know is that Kelce missed nearly his entire rookie season due to a knee injury that resulted in microfracture surgery. While we’re not sure if his previous surgery is related to his current ailment or not, as Lapham states, “Any injury can play a role in biomechanics.”
The outlook: Travis Kelce is definitely playing. In the words of Ziegler, “That dude would play if his arm fell off.” And honestly, the stats back that up. Since his rookie season, Kelce has NOT MISSED A SINGLE GAME. He has been pulled from games after sustaining a concussion but has been ready to start every week since 2014. We don’t expect SBLIV to be any different.
Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
The injury: In perhaps the most serious of the previously listed injuries, Tevin Coleman dislocated his shoulder during the NFC Championship game two weeks ago. Initially, coaches were unsure if Coleman would be able to go for Sunday, but after MRI results were “positive,” Coleman has been reportedly progressing and participating in walk throughs.
Shoulder dislocations can be tricky. If an athlete does not sustain damage to any of the surrounding structures, they may be able to get through a big event, such as the Super Bowl. However, Coleman may incur residual symptoms such as instability, discomfort, and kinesiophobia (fear of movement due to pain).
The outlook: As of last Friday, Coleman was still listed as questionable on the injury report. However, Lapham and Ziegler agree, “IT’S THE SUPERBOWL,” so of course he will play. His productivity may be affected due to injury and he will likely need to be braced for the event. But at the end of the week, we expect Coleman to be dressed for the most important game of his life.
With the Giants and Jets out of the mix (very much so), we’re not picking any favorites for the win. We’re just hoping for a fun, competitive, INJURY FREE game!
Learn more about the professional athletes EXCEL has treated by visiting our Pro Athlete Spotlight.