The Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LVIII matchup against the San Francisco 49ers is closing in quickly. Ahead of the most important game of the season, the "home" team is potentially slated to receive a notable boost on the offensive side of the ball.
According to an afternoon report from James Palmer of NFL Network, running back Jerick McKinnon is tracking to make his return to the lineup on Sunday.
"There is a good chance the #Chiefs will have RB Jet McKinnon today," Palmer tweeted. "He’s considered a game time decision but he’s expected to go per source. Remarkable that he’s been able to get himself ready for this game."
If McKinnon is indeed good to go, this would be a nice plus for Kansas City on game day. The 31-year-old halfback hasn't played since Week 15 due to injury, missing the final three games of the regular season and all three of the team's playoff outings thus far. Despite that, the Chiefs designated him to return from injured reserve leading up to the Super Bowl and allowed him to practice all week. That culminated with his activation to the 53-man roster on Saturday, rendering him questionable and a game-time call.
Now, per Palmer's report on Sunday, things appear to be trending in an even more positive direction. McKinnon was very focused on recovering in time to play against his former team.
"McKinnon felt good during his rehab as it’s been steady progress day to day," Palmer said. "This was a game he WILL NOT miss. Jet went through a lot mentally during his time with the #49ers and has been waiting for this match up since he came to KC."
This recovery timeline for McKinnon is fast. After suffering his injury in late December, the veteran running back reportedly underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury and fractured pelvis on Jan. 2. Well less than two months later, it seems that he'll be back out on the field competing for a second world championship in a row. McKinnon is no stranger to this — he's suffered calf and knee injuries in the past, to name a couple — but this quick return would be impressive.
As far as a workload is concerned should McKinnon be active, that's a bit unclear. During the regular season, he played in 32% of available snaps in his games played. Rushing the ball 21 times and hauling in another 25 passes, he scored five combined touchdowns on offense and was responsible for another through the air. McKinnon brings tremendous value as a pass-protection savant and quality receiving option. In a critical game like this one, Kansas City would welcome him back with open arms.