JANUARY 26: Thuney will not be a game-time decision; the Chiefs ruled out their All-Pro left guard out for the AFC title game. Sunday will mark Thuney’s first absence this season. Nose tackle Derrick Nnadi is also out for a second straight game. Additionally, the team will not activate Skyy Moore from IR this week; the second-year wideout has been eligible to come off IR for the past two weeks.
JANUARY 24: While the Chiefs have seen their tackle pickups struggle this season, the defending Super Bowl champions boast one of the NFL’s best interior offensive lines. They look set to need at least one backup to step in Sunday, however.
The pectoral injury Joe Thuney suffered against the Bills is likely to keep him out of the AFC championship game, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Thuney is believed to have sustained a pec strain, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
Thuney avoiding a tear represents promising news regarding his potential availability for Super Bowl LVIII — should the Chiefs qualify — but he has been one of the NFL’s most durable players during his eight-year career. The former Patriots draftee missed two games last season; those are the only two absences of his eight-year career. Thuney received first-team All-Pro honors at left guard this season.
The Chiefs made Thuney a centerpiece in their 2021 O-line remodeling effort. After the Buccaneers hounded Patrick Mahomes in a Super Bowl LV blowout, the Chiefs added four new starters up front. Thuney became the most expensive piece, signing a five-year, $80MM contract to defect from New England. Thuney joined center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in this successful overhaul. Brown has since left, joining the Bengals, but the Chiefs’ interior trio represents a key part of their voyage to a sixth straight AFC title game.
Thuney, 31, earned second-team All-Pro acclaim in 2022 and joined Humphrey as Chiefs blockers to receive Pro Bowl nods this season. The Patriots used Thuney as a five-year starter, franchise-tagging him in 2020. Though, the dependable guard did not earn any accolades while in New England. The former third-round pick has been quite important in Kansas City, however, especially considering the team’s Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor signings have produced inconsistency on the edges. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric slots Thuney, Humphrey and Smith, respectively, first, second and fourth among interior O-linemen.
Fifth-year blocker Nick Allegretti has made four starts at guard over the past two seasons. He profiles as the next man up for the Chiefs, who are attempting to become the first repeat Super Bowl champ since the 2003-04 Patriots. Second-year UDFA Mike Caliendo also resides on K.C.’s 53-man roster.