The Kansas City Chiefs may be without their best cornerback for a while. According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Kendall Fuller played during Thursday night’s last-second loss to the division rival Los Angeles Chargers while working through a painful wrist injury, which is believed to be a fracture. Fuller needs surgery on the wrist, which he will get on Friday morning.
Fuller was acquired from Washington this past offseason as part of the Alex Smith trade. He began the season working some as an outside cornerback and struggled, but has played primarily in the slot for most of the year and has been Kansas City’s best cover corner for much of the year. (Steven Nelson and Orlando Scandrick have combined to allow 10 touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus, while Fuller has allowed only two.)
With Fuller out, Scandrick will presumably bump down inside in sub packages while special-teamer Charvarius Ward, Tremon Smith, and/or backup safety Eric Murray will see more snaps, with one of them manning the perimeter corner spot opposite Nelson.
The Chiefs’ remaining games are against the Seahawks and Raiders, the first of which could pose a challenge in the slot as both Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett run a lot of their routes inside. With the Chiefs now in a virtual tie for first place in the AFC West with the Chargers (Kansas City currently owns the tiebreaker based on its record against AFC West opponents), they can’t afford to lose any more games the rest of the way. Not having Fuller on the field is a big loss, and it could lead to their having to play on wild-card weekend rather than potentially receiving a bye in the first round.