Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce went down with in a noncontact ankle injury in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings — but returned to action after halftime.
Kelce caught a short pass from Patrick Mahomes early in the second quarter and went down on the U.S. Bank Stadium turf without being tackled at the Chiefs’ 34-yard line.
The tight end appeared to grab at his right ankle or lower leg before teammates helped him up.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce runs off the field after getting injured during the first half of the Chiefs’ game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.Abbie Parr / AP
Kelce, who missed the season opener against Detroit with a hyperextended knee, jogged off with a noticeable hitch and spent several minutes trying to walk back and forth on the sideline.
He limped into a tunnel for further examination and a short time later, the Chiefs listed him as unlikely to return to action.
But he did make it back into the game —and even caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes late in the third quarter. That gave the Chiefs a 27-13 lead and Kansas City held on for a 27-20 victory.
Kelce was even sent on the field for defense, as the Chiefs wanted his 6-foot-5 frame to defend a possible Hail Mary heave by the Vikings on the game’s final play.
And then well after the game, Kelce paid tribute to the Chiefs fans who came out to support their team in enemy territory.
Kelce, one of the game’s best tight ends, has suddenly become one of pop culture’s best-known athletes because of his ties to Taylor Swift.
Swift has merged two fan bases — Swifties and football watchers — by simply showing up at the Chiefs’ past two games, at home against the Chicago Bears and then at the New York Jets a week ago.
She did not appear to be at Sunday’s game in Minneapolis.
Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 on the turf at MetLife Stadium, renewing calls from players to get rid of artificial grass.
David K. Li
David K. Li is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.