Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs placed rookie tight end Travis Kelce on injured reserve Saturday after he had arthroscopic surgery earlier in the week to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee.
The Chiefs elevated defensive back Bradley McDougald, a Kansas University product, from the practice squad to fill his roster spot.
Kelce had been dealing with what the Chiefs thought was a bruised bone in his knee since training camp. He underwent a series of MRI exams that kept coming back negative, so he opted to have surgery on Tuesday that revealed the damage to his cartilage.
“This is an injury people get better from,” Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said. “He’s a young guy. He’s got a good, healthy knee. We protected him so he didn’t do any additional damage. That gives him the best chance to come back and have a good, long career.”
Kelce, a third-round draft pick out, played sparingly in the preseason and had played in a regular-season game. He already had been ruled out for today’s game against Oakland.
“It kind of got out of control in a couple of preseason games,” Kelce said recently. “It just comes from doing a lot of work, a lot of loading on the leg. I’ve never dealt with this before, so it’s all new to me. It’s frustrating.”
It’s also frustrating for the Chiefs, who have been banged up at tight end.
Tony Moeaki fractured his shoulder during the preseason and will be unavailable all year, and top tight end Anthony Fasano is still listed as doubtful for the Raiders with a sprained ankle.
The Chiefs have had to turn to Sean McGrath, whom they picked up off waivers from Seattle just before the start of the season, and Kevin Brock, who didn’t play at all in the NFL last season, just so that they could have two tight ends available for their regular-season games.
McGrath has filled in admirably, though. He has 15 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m going to tell you all like I tell everyone, I’m going to prepare the same every single week,” McGrath said, “whether I’m going to be out there a lot or I’m not.”
In other injury news, free safety Kendrick Lewis is listed as questionable against Oakland with a lingering ankle injury, and Brandon Flowers is also questionable with a knee injury that popped up late in the week. Flowers dealt with an injury to his other knee earlier in the season.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston is probable after undergoing evaluations all week for a possible concussion. He was a full participant in practice Friday but will be examined again before the game.