Hobbled Mahomes 'feels better than I thought' after Chiefs' win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes was able to return to the Kansas City Chiefs' lineup despite an injured right ankle in time to help lead them to a divisional round playoff win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, giving the Chiefs optimism he would be ready to compete in next Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Neither Mahomes nor Kansas City coach Andy Reid would commit to him playing, though.

"It feels better than I thought it was going to be now," Mahomes said after the 27-20 victory that put the Chiefs in the conference title game for the fifth straight season. "Obviously, I have a lot of adrenaline going right now, so we'll see how it feels. But I'll hop right in the treatment and try to do whatever I can to be as close to 100 percent by next week. Luckily for us, we played the early game on Saturday, so we get an extra almost half a day that I can let that ankle rest."

Reid concurred.

"Let's just see how it goes here the next couple days. It's going to be sore, I know, but let's see where he is at," he said. "He's had this before, and he was able to keep pushing through."

Mahomes will undergo an MRI on Sunday to gain further clarity on the ankle injury, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday night.

Mahomes injured the ankle late in the first quarter, when he went down awkwardly after completing a pass to reserve tight end Blake Bell. Though the quarterback was obviously favoring the ankle, Mahomes stayed in the game long enough to finish the drive, which ended with a field goal that gave the Chiefs a 10-7 lead.

Mahomes initially resisted the Chiefs' requests that he retreat to the locker room to have the ankle X-rayed, though he eventually relented.

"I wanted just to continue to play," Mahomes said. "I told [Reid] I would do it at halftime, but Coach, in the best interests of me, he made me go back there and get that X-ray before he put me back in the game.

"I thought I could play through it, and then he said, 'I'm not putting you back in, so you might as well go get the X-ray, and then if it's negative or whatever, I'll put you back in.' So I ran back there, got the X-ray and was able to finish the game."

X-rays of the ankle were negative. The Chiefs also had Mahomes do some agility drills.

"You've got to make sure he's OK physically where he can protect himself," Reid said. "If he can't then he can't play. You have to go with the next guy. But he's a tough nut and ... when I tell you he's competitive, he is very, very competitive. It was hard getting him out of the game.

"He came back, and he said he felt good enough to where he is not going to get hurt. That's obviously the primary thing. He felt like his mobility was good enough where he could do that. We did a few little things with him on the sideline to see where he was at, put him in, and it was a short leash. If I felt like he wasn't able to handle it, he would've been out."

In Mahomes' absence in the second quarter, backup quarterback Chad Henne led the Chiefs on what proved to be a key drive. The Chiefs drove 98 yards for a touchdown, which came on Henne's 1-yard pass to Travis Kelce.

Henne helped Kansas City win a divisional round playoff game two years ago, when he finished a victory over the Cleveland Browns in place of an injured Mahomes, completing a fourth-down pass that allowed the Chiefs to continue a drive in the fourth quarter.

"We know that if it's up to Pat, he's going to be in there," said Kelce, who on Saturday had 14 catches, one short of an NFL playoff record, and two touchdowns. "I'm sure he had some words with everyone on the sideline wanting to get back in there, as fast as possible.

"But we had a veteran guy, Chad Henne, stepping up to the plate yet again in the playoffs. Playoff Chad, baby. We keep finding ways to win with him at QB."

Mahomes was 22-of-30 passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He said the tender ankle affected his throwing on certain passes.

"There was just a couple throws here and there where I tried to plant off that foot and it didn't let me kind of plant like I usually do," Mahomes said. "And so, a couple throws I didn't make. I told Coach I want to still throw it downfield, and so we were able to make some throws there after the first few drives, and I think he got a little confidence that I could protect myself."