NFL: The Kansas City Chiefs Should Remember What Happened To RG3 Before Rushing Patrick Mahomes Back

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The Kansas City Chiefs can't afford to rush Patrick Mahomes back from injury.

Last Thursday night, every NFL fans' heart dropped when they saw Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes limp off the field. But, despite grim prognosis, things don't appear to be that serious; Mahomes reportedly received the best possible news following his MRI and was even on the practice field yesterday.

While no one wants to see the young quarterback hurt for any period of time, the Chiefs should be careful not to rush him back. There was once another promising signal-caller, whose career was destroyed after playing hurt.

Patrick Mahomes' injury

In the Chiefs' Thursday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos, Patrick Mahomes ran a quarterback sneak. When he emerged from the pile, however, something had gone wrong; trainers had to help Mahomes off the field.

The quarterback was diagnosed with a dislocated kneecap, and an MRI confirmed there was no structural or ligament damage. While everyone expected Mahomes to miss at least a few games, the reigning MVP is no stranger to defying expectations.

On Wednesday, Mahomes joined the Chiefs on the practice field. While Matt Moore—who will presumably be starting on Sunday—got most of the work, the injured QB did throw some passes. Head coach Andy Reid simply said that the team would “see how he does and evaluate him from there.”

One Chiefs player did offer some commentary on the injury, though. “It's surprising, but those injuries can go either way,” guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who holds a medical degree, said. “When there's no [ligament] damage, and it's been put back in right after it happened and he's feeling good about it.

Remembering Robert Griffin III

While there's no suggestion that the Chiefs would do anything to endanger Patrick Mahomes and his career, it's valuable to remember what can happen when a promising young quarterback plays hurt.

After an impressive college career, Robert Griffin III made the jump to the NFL. He stepped seamlessly into the pro game, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in his first season with the Washington Redskins.

Towards the end of his rookie season, however, he suffered a knee injury. He would miss one game before returning to play through the pain, further damaging the joint. From there, things spiraled out of control. Griffin struggled to stay healthy; even when he could play, he didn't mesh with Mike Shanahan or Jay Gruden. To this day, RGIII's career remains one of the biggest “what ifs” in recent NFL history.

How should the Chiefs handle Mahomes?

Once again, there's no indication that Patrick Mahomes is going to become another Robert Griffin. The Chiefs quarterback didn't have any pre-existing medical conditions and is has a great relationship with his head coach. But, it's still worth considering how dangerous an injury can be to a young quarterback's career.

While it's in the Chiefs' longterm interest to keep Mahomes healthy, a lay-off could also help them in the immediate future. The quarterback has been battling an ankle issue for the entire season; sitting on the sidelines for a few weeks could give that joint time to heal, helping him return to his best.

No matter when Patrick Mahomes returns to the field, the Kansas City Chiefs should act with an abundance of caution. It's one thing to lose a few games this year, but it's another to gamble with your franchise's cornerstone.