Chiefs' Kelce active for AFC title game despite back spasms
By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Travis Kelce is active for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday night's AFC championship game after the All-Pro tight end experienced back spams in practice that had him questionable on the final injury report.
Kelce caught a career-best 110 passes for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season, then had 14 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Kelce began stretching out about 2 hours before kickoff. After running a couple of routes, Kelce gave a fist-bump to Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder and joined the rest of the tight ends and wide receivers for the rest of warmups.
Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had no issues moving around on his sprained right ankle on a frigid, windswept night at Arrowhead Stadium. The All-Pro quarterback was hurt in the first quarter against the Jaguars, but he returned after halftime to finish the game and was a full participant in practice this week.
The Chiefs also have wide receiver Mecole Hardman available for the first time since early November, when he landed on injured reserve with a pelvis injury. The speedster was activated several weeks ago, but had not played because of a series of setbacks, and he was listed as questionable to face the Bengals on the final injury report.
The inactive players for Kansas City are: quarterback Shane Buechele, defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, tight end Blake Bell, offensive tackle Darian Kinnard, defensive end Malik Herring and wide receivers Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Justin Watson.
The Bengals have no surprise inactives after ruling out starting offensive linemen Alex Cappa with an ankle injury and Jonah Williams with a knee injury. They are joined by running back Chris Evans, cornerback Jalen Davis, defensive end Jeff Gunter, defensive tackle Jay Tufele and quarterback Jake Browning.
Bengals linebacker Joe Bachie had been questionable with a sore foot, cornerback Tre Flowers with a hamstring injury, tight end Hayden Hurst with a calf injury and center Ted Karras with a sore knee.
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Updated January 29, 2023
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