NFL injury updates, latest league news from Thursday, Jan. 27

The Kansas City Chiefs' defensive X-factor is getting closer to returning in time for the AFC Championship Game.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu took the practice field Thursday, but remains in the concussion protocol, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after practice. Mathieu will test again following practice, but his performance Thursday, which saw him listed as a full participant, was encouraging, per Reid.

Mathieu was forced out of the Chiefs' overtime Divisional Round win over the Buffalo Bills early in the game due to the concussion, playing just seven snaps before his exit. The Chiefs replaced Mathieu with Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts and nearly didn't survive without Mathieu, needing an unlikely 13-second scoring drive to send the game to overtime before Patrick Mahomes and Co. finished off the victory with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce.

Since then, Mathieu has spent the week in the protocol, with Kansas City hoping he'd make it out of protocol in time to play in the team's most important game of the season to this point.

Mathieu will be needed to help defend against Cincinnati's air attack, which includes three talented receivers (Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd) and tight end C.J. Uzomah for Joe Burrow to target. All hands will be on deck to limit them in an effort to help the Chiefs win the AFC for a third straight season.

Elsewhere on the Chiefs' injury report, running back Darrel Williams (toe), who missed the Divisional Round game, was a limited participant a day after he was a full-go.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), cornerback Rashad Fenton (back), wide receivers Mecole Hardman (hip) and Tyreek Hill (heel) and defensive lineman Chris Jones (groin) were all full participants.

Injuries

  • The Cincinnati Bengals' injury report Wednesday mirrored Tuesday's, as Joe Burrow (knee) and wide receiver Tee Higgins (thumb) were full participants, wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) were limited and defensive end Cameron Sample (groin) was a DNP.
  • Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee), who missed the team's Divisional Round game, was a full participant in practice a day after he was limited. Defensive lineman Greg Gaines (toe) was also a full go, while safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) and wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee) were limited. Offensive lineman Joe Noteboom (chest) remained a non-participant. Added to the injury report was backup quarterback John Wolford, who missed practice with an illness.
  • Philadelphia Eagles tight end Tyree Jackson underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery today with Dr. Robert LaPrade, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
  • San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) was a DNP for the second day in a row as was running back Jeff Wilson (ankle). Running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) was limited Thursday a day after he was a DNP. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (right thumb) and cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) were full participants, as expected.

Roster moves

  • The Green Bay Packers announced Thursday the signing of defensive lineman Jack Heflin.

Retirements

Front office moves

  • The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday the hiring of Chris Tabor as their new special teams coordinator. Tabor brings a wealth of experience to Carolina, having coached in the NFL for 14 years, with his last four seasons spent as the Bears' special teams coach following seven years with the Browns in the same capacity.
  • The Chicago Bears are hiring Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their new head coach, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.
  • The Denver Broncos are finalizing a deal to make Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett their new head coach, Pelissero reported.

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