Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes will play vs. Bengals; Travis Kelce listed as ‘questionable’

Nick Wagner/

So far, so good for the NFL’s most-watched right-ankle injury ahead of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was observed on the practice field Friday during the brief portion of on-field work — stretching/conditioning and individual position drills — that was open to the media.

After practice, Chiefs coach Andy Reid gave a one-word response when asked if Mahomes would start Sunday night’s game.

“Yes,” Reid said.

Tight end Travis Kelce, meanwhile, was a surprise addition to Friday’s injury report with a back injury. The Chiefs designated Kelce as questionable for Sunday’s game.

The good news: Kelce was able to put in a full practice Friday.

Friday marked the third straight day that Mahomes practiced with his teammates and Reid came away impressed with his QB’s mobility. Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain during the first half of last Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round game against Jacksonville.

He briefly left the game for X-rays, which were negative, before returning after halftime.

“He looks good,” Reid said Friday. “I mean, he’s moving around good. I think he can go out and play.”

The Chiefs’ star quarterback underwent treatment after last weekend’s Divisional Round game and continued his rehabilitation process throughout the week. His recuperating ankle remains heavily taped while he’s on the practice field, but he has been observed jogging and putting pressure on it.

Reid had said Thursday that Mahomes was “on track” to play Sunday, and that projection isn’t likely to change given Mahomes’ presence at Friday’s practice and the injury report: The Chiefs did not assign him a game designation Friday afternoon, meaning he should be available for a full workload.

Wide receiver Mecole Hardman (pelvis) was also observed on the practice field for the third straight day. Hardman, who hasn’t played since Week 9, put in limited practices the past three days.

Reid said that wide receiver Justin Watson did not practice Friday because of an illness.

The Chiefs later designated Hardman and Watson as questionable against the Bengals.