Head coach Andy Reid told reporters Kelce hyperextended his knee and his status for Thursday's season-opener against the Detroit Lions remains unknown. He is reportedly considered day-to-day, and tests revealed inflammation but no tears in his knee, according to The Athletic's Diana Russini.
"We'll just see how it goes," Reid said.
Kelce, who will turn 34 in October, has not missed a regular-season game due to injury since 2014. He missed one game due to COVID-19 in 2021. Kelce is one of the most productive tight ends in NFL history after he posted a seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season with the Chiefs this past season. He also broke Rob Gronkowski's postseason touchdown record and sits behind only legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Fellow Chiefs tight end Blake Bell told The Athletic's Nate Taylor after practice that the injury occurred during a red-zone drill. Wideout Skyy Moore added that he saw Kelce "limping" but walked off the field under his own power.
Skyy Moore on Travis Kelce's hyperextended knee injury during today's practice: “I was in on that play, so I was running a route. I was talking to somebody & he was limping, just walking off the field. It was a good sign to see him get up by himself & get off the field.”
— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) September 5, 2023
Kansas City could also be without defensive staple Chris Jones, who skipped the Chiefs' first practice Sunday while he holds out for a long-term extension. Jones is in the final year of his four-year, $80 million deal but sits ninth among defensive tackles in average annual salary.
Jones' absence would be bad for the Chiefs' defense, but no Kelce might be even worse for the offense. Kelce has led the team in targets in six of the past nine seasons and Kansas City doesn't have much pass-catching experience behind him.
If Kelce were to miss a game or see a downtick in snaps because of his injury, Patrick Mahomes would be forced to target the group of Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson, 2023 second-rounder Rashee Rice, 2022 undrafted free agent Justyn Ross or Kadarius Toney, who is battling his own knee issue. The Chiefs' running back duo of Jerick McKinnon and an also-injured Isiah Pacheco are also quality options out of the backfield.
Either way, it's certainly not as formidable of a group as the Chiefs have had in the past.