Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes ready for ‘challenge’ of Bengals

Patrick Mahomes participated in the morning walkthrough and will do the same in afternoon practice with the Chiefs on Wednesday, marking the latest sign that Kansas City’s All-Pro quarterback will play in the AFC Championship game on Sunday.

“Everybody is going to practice,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday in preparation for his conference championship game and fifth in a row with Kansas City.

The Chiefs (15-3) welcome the Cincinnati Bengals (14-4) to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS) to decide the conference representative in the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.

Mahomes has been at his best on the big stage with 32 touchdowns (28 TD passes, four rushing) and three interceptions in 10 career home playoff starts.

But Mahomes is dealing with a sprain of his upper right ankle. The initial sprain forced him out of the Chiefs’ divisional playoff win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. He returned to the game with limited mobility, completing 22 of 30 passes for a season-low 195 yards with two touchdowns and was not sacked.

“A few days of treatment, a few days of rehab … it’s feeling good so far,” Mahomes said.

Mahomes said he underwent testing and began treatment hours after the playoff win. He’s 9-3 in 12 career playoff games with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

“It’s a full-day thing,” he said. “I haven’t been at the house much. When I am, it’s either studying or going to sleep.”

Mahomes said the injury isn’t as severe as his 2019 high ankle sprain or a toe injury two seasons ago. The difference will be in physical limitations on his right ankle and plant leg throwing from the pocket.

“We’ll see throughout the week,” Mahomes said. “I’ll push a little bit today. You don’t want to reaggravate it. But that’s the stuff you do the treatment for. Keep pushing it and pushing it and go out there and win a football game.”

Reid said this week on Tom Brady’s “Let’s Go” podcast he would “let his offensive linemen take care of that, up their game a little bit,” when discussing alterations to a game plan to protect Mahomes.

Mahomes said Wednesday he’s looking forward to getting on the field with his guys to take on the “challenge” of an ever-changing Bengals’ front.

Wide receiver Mecole Hardman (pelvis) returned to practice but Reid said the Chiefs will monitor him closely this week. Hardman didn’t play against the Jaguars and has been sidelined since Nov. 6.

The Chiefs aren’t expecting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to be activated from injured reserve. He has missed the past eight games.

The Bengals have won their last three games against the Chiefs. Cincinnati limited Mahomes to 223 yards and one TD pass in their Dec. 4 meeting.

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