Chiefs Fear ‘Significant,’ Season-Ending Knee Injury for Standout Safety

Juan Thornhill

Getty Images Chiefs S Juan Thornhill

The Kansas City Chiefs earned themselves a first-round playoff bye week with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17 – and a little help from the Miami Dolphins. However, the victory may have come at a cost for one of Kansas City’s most impressive rookies.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill is feared to have a ‘significant knee injury’ that could potentially force him out of action for the playoffs.

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The 24-year-old safety went down with a non-contact knee injury during the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Chargers, but was ruled out for the game shortly after. The team must now wait for the results of an MRI on Monday to confirm the severity of the injury. Thornhill was seen in a knee brace in the postgame locker room. As of Sunday evening, the outlook for his return appears dismal at best.

Interestingly enough, the AFC West division champions recently replaced the sod on the Arrowhead Stadium field, according to a tweet from Chiefs beat writer Matt Derrick prior to the game.

Thornhill, Teammates React on Twitter

Shortly after sustaining the knee injury, the rookie posted a message on Twitter with the caption “I know God got me.”

Teammate Frank Clark spoke to reporters about the situation after the game. The defensive end’s full comments and video, courtesy of Arrowhead Pride, are below:

“As a rookie, you got to understand that you’re going to go through these things if you want to get to the top,” Clark said to the media. “It’s a long journey in the NFL to be one of those guys, as people say. So, for a guy like Juan, who has come in and been excellent for us — went through that rookie learning curve and now has been playing some excellent ball the last couple of weeks. But it hurts. It hurts. You don’t want to see one of the guys that you started the season off [with] go down like that. We just got to hold it down. We got a few guys that went down. We’ll just continue to hold it down for the guys that wend down and try to bring it home for them.”

The Rookie Has Been a Standout on Defense

If the Chiefs’ second-round pick is indeed finished for the season, Kansas City will certainly miss his presence as they work towards another deep playoff run. The University of Virginia product quickly became a key piece of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, starting all 16 regular season games in his rookie season.

Thornhill was credited for 56 total tackles, five pass breakups, three interceptions, and one touchdown. The score came via pick-six in Week 13 when he stepped in front of a pass from Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr and returned it 45 yards to the end zone.

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