Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Injures Knee

The Kansas City Chiefs may have to adjust on the fly as they prepare to open the 2023 regular season against the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football. Superstar tight end Travis Kelce terrified NFL fans everywhere by hyper-extending his knee at a Tuesday practice. Thankfully, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the eight-time Pro Bowler's ACL remains intact. Kelce has apparently avoided a catastrophic injury, but his status for Thursday's game is very much up in the air. How he responds in the coming days will decide whether or not he suits up against the Lions.

Kelce is a four-time All-Pro, a two-time Super Bowl champion, and arguably the greatest tight end of all time. His 1416 receiving yards during the 2020 season set an NFL record at the position. He also has a record seven seasons with 1000 or more yards, the most for a tight end in NFL history; no one else at the position has achieved the feat more than four times.

The Chiefs offense still excelled in 2022 despite jettisoning six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill, so if any team has proven it can get by without its established superstars at pass catcher, it's them.

Still, losing Kelce for any significant amount of time may be a bridge too far, even for a team that starts two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes. Kelce has been mister reliable for the Chiefs for the entirety of the Mahomes era, appearing in 80 of a possible 82 games and hauling in a preposterous 507 receptions for 6444 yards and 47 touchdowns since 2018, by far the most on the team. Besides Kelce, no Chiefs pass-catcher currently on the roster has ever exceeded 700 receiving yards in a season.

If Kelce misses Week 1, the Chiefs may get their first real look at their future without Kelce, which may come sooner than they'd like to admit. He's set to turn 34 years old this season; he's only five months younger than his peer and rival Rob Gronkowski, who has already retired on two separate occasions. NFL fans (and Chiefs fans in particular) should appreciate Kelce while he's here. 

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