The final injury reports for Super Bowl LVII are out, and between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, just one player is listed: Eagles punt returner Britain Covey as questionable with a hamstring injury. So that means everyone else is healthy, right? Nothing to see here. Wrong.
Obviously, it’s Super Bowl week, so nobody who practiced is going to miss the game. But I think we should talk a little bit more about what injuries will impact the game, even if they aren’t on the final reports and everyone is dressed and on the field Sunday night.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: Ankle
I expect Patrick Mahomes to have gained a step since the AFC Championship Game. He’s three weeks out from suffering a high ankle sprain, but I kind of think of it as two weeks because he played on it a little bit early and clearly aggravated it during the second half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. But I definitely believe he should be running more confidently on Sunday. His downfield throws should be even more accurate, with some power behind them.
Mahomes has a significant injury, but I think what we saw against Cincinnati was mental toughness. He played through the injury with an incredible ability to throw with his body contorted off of no feet. That’s something really only Mahomes can do, and we were lucky to watch that. I think we’ll get quite a show from him this weekend.
One concern with Mahomes and his ankle is the long breaks in the Super Bowl. For halftime, we’re talking about a half hour, maybe even closer to 35 minutes, plus you have that extended anthem at the beginning of the game. You definitely want to keep him up and moving around during those breaks to keep his ankle warm. He didn’t take a pain injection or an anti-inflammatory before the AFC Championship. The question is: Is he taking any kind of anti-inflammatory orally that could help him? It won’t numb all his pain, but it could help, especially with the longer halftime.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts: Shoulder
I’m actually more worried about Jalen Hurts than I am Mahomes. His injury should have healed at this point, but I think what we saw from him in the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers is that he isn’t quite comfortable. And I don’t know if that’s all physical.
The sternoclavicular joint is a major joint for a throwing athlete. Pain there certainly can affect your ability to throw. A pregame injection might be something he’s looking at to help him in the first half of the game. I’m not sure if it will help by the second half, though, especially with that longer halftime. The main — and most important — things I’m really looking for from him are whether he wil scramble, and whether can he throw accurately downfield.
Eagles CB Avonte Maddox: Turf Toe
Avonte Maddox‘s injury is the most significant in this matchup, even more than the two quarterbacks. Turf toe is a really tough injury for a cornerback. It’s going to affect his ability to push off, to accelerate and to change direction. Obviously, when you’re trying to cover Travis Kelce and all of Kansas City’s other receivers, that’s going to be something that’s difficult for him to do.
That we saw him only a week ago in a boot — whether or not it was prophylactic to just keep the toe resting — definitely means he is limited. That will be something to watch.
Dr. Jess Flynn is a sports medicine doctor who specializes in injuries relating to athletes. Her insights are routinely used by NFL executives and coaches to discuss draft picks and game-planning as it relates to injuries. Follow her on Twitter @DocFlynnNFL.