Kansas City Chiefs DT Khalen Saunders was among a trio of notable injured players during the team’s Week 1 opener against the Houston Texans. The second-year defensive tackle was forced to exit late in the first quarter after suffering a dislocated elbow on a passing play from Deshaun Watson to Brandin Cooks.
On Wednesday morning, the Chiefs received some positive news on their 2019 third-round draft pick. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Saunders is only expected to be out for about one month, setting a potential return for a Week 6 Thursday night matchup against the Buffalo Bills on October 15.
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No Surgery For Khalen Saunders
Fortunately for the 24-year-old, there were no fractures in his injured elbow, allowing him to avoid potential season-ending surgery. Saunders, who has worked his way into the rotation alongside Pro Bowler Chris Jones and fellow third-rounder Derrick Nnadi, played just eight snaps before exiting in Week 1.
On Tuesday, Kansas City protected its first practice squad player of the season, DT Braxton Hoyett, from being poached by another team, signaling that Saunders’ recovery would keep him out of action in the Week 2 divisional game at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Upon his return, Saunders will look to build off of his 2019 totals, including 22 tackles, two quarterback hits and 1.0 sack in 12 games (four starts).