The Kansas City Chiefs must make their decision on Martinas Rankin’s health this week.
For the last couple weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have been able to casually watch offensive lineman Martinas Rankin during practice sessions as he got back into football shape and tested how well his knee has recovered from a devastating injury dating back to last year. This week, however, the runway for Rankin has ended.
Given that the Chiefs placed Rankin on the Physically Unable to Play list to start the season, Rankin was forced to miss the first six games of the year. From there, he was activated which gave the team and player a three-week window within which to evaluate his healthy and ability to return to the field. For Rankin and the Chiefs, Week 9 is that third week.
As the Chiefs prepare for the Carolina Panthers, they must also look to Rankin’s readiness for the rest of the season. Rankin is a potential starter at guard when healthy, and as the team deals with the losses of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (opt out) and Kelechi Osemele (injury), Rankin would most certainly be in the mix to start if he’s ready. Instead, the Chiefs have turned to Nick Allegretti, who has been solid at left guard in place of Mike Remmers, who switched to right tackle to replace the injured Mitchell Schwartz.
On Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid told reporters an update on Rankin, saying he was “real close.”
"“He’s getting there. He’s real close. I think it’s great the way this is set up where he’s got that time to get himself ready to go. He had no camp and this is the first football he’s had these last couple of weeks. It’s good for him to get in there and bang around a little bit on the scout team. So that’s what he’s been doing.”"
Clearly the Chiefs are working with a patchwork offensive line, but it’s hard to tell just how much they would shake things up as players return like Rankin who weren’t automatically starters when healthy. If Allegretti is doing well, would they replace him? Could he push Andrew Wylie at right guard? Do the Chiefs want to mess with whatever little stability or chemistry they have in place, or is it worth a talent upgrade if Rankin brings it?
The Chiefs received Rankin in a trade from the Houston Texans just over a year ago when they shipped veteran running back Carlos Hyde in return. Rankin went on to start five of six games for the Chiefs before injuring his knee at midseason. He’s been out ever since.