The Chiefs appear to have lost a key piece of their secondary as they pursue a division title and the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Starting cornerback Kendall Fuller is believed to have played through a fractured wrist in the 29-28 loss to the Chargers on Thursday night and was expected to have surgery Friday morning, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Fuller first appeared on the Chiefs’ injury report following their Dec. 9 overtime win against the Ravens because of a thumb injury, but he was a full participant in practice. In that game, Fuller came out in the fourth quarter with tape on his right wrist and thumb after playing without it in the first three quarters.
During media availability before the Chargers game, Fuller also had what looked like a brace on his wrist and thumb. He played with a red cast on his right wrist that looked to be protecting his thumb during Thursday night’s game.
Coach Andy Reid didn’t have any injuries to report after the Chiefs lost Thursday night, and he’s not expected to speak with the media until Monday. Fuller spoke with the media after the loss, but didn’t indicate any significant injury.
Fuller, acquired through the Alex Smith trade to Washington earlier this year, has been a key piece of the Chiefs’ secondary. Against the Chargers, Fuller grabbed an interception in the corner of the end zone, grabbing the ball over LA receiver Tyrell Williams as he fell backwards out of the end zone. Fuller finished the game with two tackles and the interception.
Throughout the season, Fuller, 23, has been a steadily improving piece of an otherwise shaky secondary. In 14 games, Fuller has 55 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble. His absence, no matter how long, would be significant for the Chiefs considering the lack of depth at the position.
The options to fill in for Fuller are slim: rookie corner Tremon Smith or rookie corner Charvarius Ward. Both have primarily been special teams players this year, but Smith has taken limited snaps on the defense.
After Thursday night’s game, the Chiefs don’t play again until Dec. 23 in Seattle. They need to win that game and the season finale against the Raiders at home to clinch the AFC West title and homefield advantage through the playoffs.