Kansas City Chiefs guard Kyle Long has reportedly suffered a leg injury that is likely to keep him out through training camp and until at least the beginning of the regular season.
First reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Long suffered a lower-leg injury that will likely keep him off the field through training camp and the preseason. Pelissero notes that Long did not suffer a fractured kneecap but that the team initially feared that it could have been an even more serious injury before initial tests.
After practice on Thursday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed that Long suffered a knee injury but that "it doesn't look like it's ligaments, but we'll see."
Reid said there's "a chance he has to have surgery on it, but we'll see where it's at."
Long took to Twitter Thursday morning to give an update on his health and to thank Chiefs Kingdom for the well-wishes.
I did everything I could to prepare to get back for football. Zero regrets. I’ve been getting better everyday and having so much fun with my new team. Focusing on controlling the things I can control. Yesterday was not one of those things! Thanks for the well wishes.
Matt Verderame of Fansided tweeted that it is his understanding that Long "did not break his foot or kneecap" but that it was some form of lower-leg injury that could be healed by the start of the regular season.
What does Long's injury mean for the Chiefs' offensive line?
Long was set to have a training camp battle with returning right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif after both players spent a year away from the NFL. Now, among the veterans, Duvernay-Tardif will have a chance to retake the starting role in training camp.
Behind Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs still have 2019 seventh-round pick Nick Allegretti and their 2018 Mack Lee Hill rookie of the year winner, Andrew Wylie. Allegretti and Wylie both played large roles in the Chiefs' 2020 campaign, both starting in Super Bowl LV.
While I believe Duvernay-Tardif is now most likely to start at right guard in Week 1, another newer name is making an early impact.
Trey Smith fell to the Chiefs in the sixth round due to medical concerns stemming from a blood clot issue earlier in his college career. Most pundits have agreed that Smith was a likely Day 2 pick without the medical concerns, and the Chiefs may have found the steal of the draft if Smith's blood clots don't pop up again.
With Long likely out until the regular season, I expect a Duvernay-Tardif vs. Smith battle at right guard, with the veteran having the edge in an offense he's played in for several years, with Smith providing the most significant competition at the position in Long's absence.
The early-offseason loss of Long is a bad break for him and the team as he seemed to be the favorite to start in Week 1, but the Chiefs do have significant depth at the position that should be able to provide a quality starter even without Long's presence.