When the Kansas City Chiefs signed Clemson playmaker and former ACC receiving leader Justyn Ross, the obvious risk factor was his lengthy injury history. However, considering no draft capital was spent, most pegged it as a worthy gamble based on his potential.
Ross hyped Chiefs fans even more through NFL insider Jordan Schultz, who relayed that the rookie was “fired up” and “cleared medically” after his 2021 foot surgery. The first-year wideout did play during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) but appeared to pick up some sort of ailment before minicamp.
Unfortunately, Kansas City chose not to comment on injuries at the time, leaving fans to question the rookie’s status heading toward training camp.
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Chiefs Fans Worry After Troubling Photos
On Tuesday, July 19, Zack Eisen of Arrowhead Report shared Instagram photos of Ross in a walking boot at The Phoenix Initiative’s “Tommie ‘Keyman’ Robinson Youth Football Camp” — which took place on July 9.
“Chiefs WR Justyn Ross was spotted two weeks ago in a boot and using a walking stroller for an injury on his left foot,” tweeted Eisen. “The same foot he had surgery on for a stress fracture back in November 2021.”
The original Instagram post was from @will_finley6 (pictured to the left of Ross), and an additional photo of the Clemson product was sent out by Chiefs Edge with what appeared to be the aforementioned walking stroller in the background.
Needless to say, these pictures sounded the alarm on social media. “@FBInjuryDoc, Justyn Ross has been spotted around KC with a boot on. Based on the injury he had, is there [a] reason for concern or could this be a precaution?” one fan asked.
“Hope Justyn Ross is okay,” another fan commented, “I’d hate to see a dude with that much potential/talent constantly get derailed by injuries.”
In the mentions of his original tweet, Eisen admitted that he “can’t give a definitive answer” on what this means for Ross’ foot moving forward, but added that he “wouldn’t say it’s a good thing.”
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Slower Recovery Could Be in KC’s Best Interest
Ross might be itching to get back on the field — and who could blame him after his lost seasons in college? — but a slower recovery could be in everyone’s best interest.
The Chiefs have a loaded wide receiver room that runs 14 deep and may not have the space for Ross when healthy, let alone less than 100%. During OTAs, the Clemson talent had some spectacular moments but he also displayed what head coach Andy Reid referred to as “rust” after months spent on the shelf.
In his current state, would he beat out a challenger like Justin Watson, Josh Gordon, Daurice Fountain or Corey Coleman — that can contribute on offense and/or special teams right away?
That’s unclear, but what is plainly obvious is that Reid and general manager Brett Veach would prefer to keep a potential diamond in the rough like Ross if they can. Not rushing him back would allow you to stash him on an injured list to begin the season, while also freeing up a roster spot for someone else.
It’s the best of both worlds for KC and if Ross really thinks it over, a proper slow-paced recovery might be the wiser decision for his career moving forward. We will continue to monitor this potential injury situation as more information becomes available.