Chiefs LB Nick Bolton To Undergo Surgery

The Chiefs extended their winning streak to six games on Sunday, but they lost a key defender for a stretch in the process. Head coach Andy Reid confirmed after the contest that linebacker Nick Bolton suffered a dislocated wrist, and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports it will require surgery.

As a result of the procedure, which’s Jeremy Fowler notes will take place Tuesday, Bolton will miss roughly two months. The news marks a significant blow to the 23-year-old individually and the Chiefs generally, given his importance to their defense. Surgery was not immediately known to be required, but confirmation on that front will leave Kansas City without a significant member of their core through much of the remaining portion of their schedule.

The 2021 second-rounder made an immediate impact in his rookie season, logging a 69% snap share and racking up 112 tackles. He was a full-time starter last year, and found himself on the field for more than 1,100 snaps. That uptick in playing time produced 180 tackles, a pair of interceptions and two sacks. Bolton followed that up with 23 stops and a pair of fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) during the Chiefs’ run to a Super Bowl title.

The Missouri product has never drawn rave reviews from PFF with respect to his pass rush or coverage skills, but his run defense has made him a staple of the defending champions’ strong start to the season. Kansas City has held its opponent to 21 or fewer points in each game this season, and the team ranks eighth in total defense. Bolton represents a large part of that success, so an extended absence for the first time in his career will deal a major blow to the unit.

Willie Gay will remain a starter at the LB spot while Bolton is away, but Drue Tranquill will be in line for an uptick in playing time. The latter stepped in for Bolton earlier this season, and his strong play in Kansas City has drawn compliments and the desire to get both he and Bolton on the field together more often. Tranquill signed a one-year deal this offseason after a four-year run with the Chargers. He has posted 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far, and those numbers will be in line for a boost since Bolton is now facing a lengthy recovery period. .

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