BY DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs will be without All-Pro offensive guard Joe Thuney and run-stuffing defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi when they play the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game on Sunday.
Thuney, who has helped to anchor one of the best interior offensive lines in the league, was ruled out Friday with a pectoral injury that he sustained in a divisional round win over the Buffalo Bills. Thuney underwent an MRI exam early in the week that revealed a strain, and it became increasingly clear that he would be unavailable when he was unable to practice.
The Chiefs will replace him veteran Nick Allegretti, who has appeared in 14 playoff games over the past five seasons. Most of those snaps have come on special teams, but he also started along the offensive line throughout the 2021 postseason, including the Chiefs’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.
“All of the guys look at him like he’s a starter, so everybody’s got confidence that he can come in and do a nice job,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Tough kid. Not everything is the prettiest thing that you’ve ever seen, but he’s going to fight you right to the end, and he’s smart. Good combination.”
Nnadi was ruled out of the AFC championship game with a triceps injury.
The Chiefs are hopeful that they will have running back Isiah Pacheco, linebacker Willie Gay Jr., safety Mike Edwards and wide receiver Kadarius Toney available, listing each of them as questionable to face the Ravens.
Pacheco, who led the Chiefs with nearly 1,000 yards rushing despite a shoulder injury that limited him to 14 regular-season games, looked spry in the portion of practice open to reporters Friday. He missed work earlier in the week with a toe injury, went through a walkthrough Thursday but appeared to be going full speed in the final practice before leaving for Baltimore.
“Just working with the training room, doing a great job in there,” Pacheco said earlier this week. “Getting better every day.”
Gay, who has been dealing with a neck injury, could be crucial to slowing down Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. He was the designated spy for Kansas City last weekend against Josh Allen, and once Gay had to leave the game, the Buffalo quarterback piled up a big chunk of his 72 yards rushing.
“Willie is a big part of our defense,” Reid said. “I would not slight Drue (Tranquill) for the job he did coming in, but Willie is a good player. He’s part of the success that we’ve had.”
Edwards was back at practice Thursday after sustaining a concussion against the Bills, while Toney — who has been under intense scrutiny from dropped passes and mental mistakes all season — has been dealing with a hip injury.
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