The Kansas City Chiefs will begin their defense of their Super Bowl LVI title without their star tight end, Travis Kelce, who suffered a hyperextended knee in practice on Tuesday. Despite reports indicating that Kelce would be inactive for Thursday night's game against the Detroit Lions, the team's CEO, Clark Hunt, initially referred to his status as a "game-time decision." However, the 48-hour turnaround proved to be insufficient time for Kelce's recovery.
Kelce's brother, Jason Kelce, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles, provided some reassurance by stating that the injury was not serious. He mentioned that there was swelling in Kelce's knee, but the ligaments and overall structure remained intact. The tight end's absence from the game will mark the first time he has missed a game due to injury since his rookie year in 2013.
To compensate for Kelce's absence, the Chiefs elevated tight end Matt Bushman from their practice squad. Backup Noah Gray is expected to take on the starting role. This is quite a blow for the Chiefs, as Kelce is coming off an exceptional season, with career-high stats of 110 receptions for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also played a crucial role in helping the Chiefs secure their second Super Bowl victory.
Although Kelce will miss the season opener, there is hope that he will return soon. If he was close to playing on Thursday, it suggests that his recovery may progress quickly. The Chiefs' second game of the season is scheduled for September 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kelce now has ten days to prepare for that matchup.
The Chiefs' opponent, the Detroit Lions, are entering the season with high expectations following a strong finish in 2022. They managed to turn around a 1-6 start and finish the season with a 9-8 record. The game will take place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Overall, the absence of Travis Kelce poses a significant challenge for the Chiefs as they embark on their title defense. However, the team remains hopeful for a swift recovery, given Kelce's determination and previous track record of resilience.
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