• Kansas City Chiefs offense in flux: LG Joe Thuney (pectoral) is trending toward missing the Super Bowl while WR Rashee Rice (ankle) was dinged up in practice Thursday, but KC has also welcomed back WR Skyy Moore (knee) and RB Jerick McKinnon (groin) to practice this week.
• Model of health: Despite their unceremonious practice situation this week, the San Francisco 49ers are as close to full strength as a team that has played 19 games can be.
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The final game of the 2023-2024 NFL season is here, and we get treated to a grudge match between the 2019-2020 Super Bowl competitors in this 58th iteration of the Big Game.
Luckily, there is not a ton to be concerned about on the injury front for either team, but the San Francisco 49ers appear to have the edge in general health at this point in the season, with no real concerns about any significant contributor's statuses this weekend. On the other hand, the Kansas City Chiefs will likely be without starting LG Joe Thuney and WR Rashee Rice came down with an ankle tweak on Thursday that will be worth keeping an eye on as we head into the weekend.
Here’s to hoping for a healthy, competitive and entertaining cap on what has been a phenomenal season of NFL football.
Kansas City has a few notable names on the injury report ahead of the Super Bowl tilt. Most, however, appear to be more precautionary measures than actual concerns. WR Richie James (foot) practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday while WR Rashee Rice (ankle) was dinged up Thursday in practice, limiting him after a full day of practice Wednesday. WR Skyy Moore (knee) is practicing in full as well as he returns from injured reserve. The extent he plays is hard to pin down, but prior to his injury, Moore was a regular feature in the Chiefs' WR rotations.
RB Jerick McKinnon (groin) also returned to practice this week from injured reserve but has been limited, providing a bit of doubt over his potential contributions on Sunday. Fellow RB Isiah Pacheco (toe/ankle) has been dinged up throughout the playoffs and the latter part of the regular season, but he appears to be near full health after practicing in full this week. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire popped up on the injury report due to an illness that limited him on Thursday as well.
Also of note, starting LG Joe Thuney sounds like he will not be available after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday as he works through a pectoral injury, likely slotting Nick Allegretti in his place in the starting lineup.
Defensive stalwarts DL Chris Jones (quad) and CB L’Jarius Sneed (calf) made an appearance on the injury report this week as well despite practicing in full, so they should not be expected to carry a designation into Sunday’s matchup. The Chiefs also lost EDGE Charles Omenihu (knee) in their AFC Championship victory, leaving Mike Danna, George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah in their primary edge rusher rotation.
San Francisco has made it through the NFC playoffs mostly intact but does have several players worth monitoring heading into the weekend. TE George Kittle (toe) was limited in practice early in the week, but it’s hard to anticipate him missing any game time, and it sounds like he has no plans of staying sidelined.
Likewise, the 49ers' defense has a couple of names to watch in DL Arik Armstead (knee/foot), CB Ambry Thomas (ankle) and LB Oren Burks (shoulder), who were all limited Wednesday and Thursday but do not appear in danger of missing any major snaps on Sunday. Armstead has been dinged up for a few weeks, but the 49ers' depth on the defensive line softens the blow a hampered Armstead would provide. Thomas has stepped into a more prominent role down the stretch this season and would certainly be missed in the secondary should he suffer any setbacks. Burks is a core special teamer but just a rotational LB behind Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner.