Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been diagnosed with a lacerated spleen, an injury that will keep him sidelined for his team's pivotal Week 17 divisional showdown against the Chargers, trainer Rick Burkholde told reporters, per ESPN.
Smith sustained the injury after taking a brutal hit to the abdomen against the Steelers in Week 16. He noticed the discomfort following the game, but did not believe it to be serious.
Smith will not need surgery, although his injury will require a six-week timetable which will virtually keep him out for the remainder of the season, if Kansas City advances to the playoffs. The Chiefs will need to win against the Chargers and have the Ravens and Texans lose in order to clinch a spot in the postseason.
Smith signed a five-year, $76 million contract before the start of the season. In 15 games, Smith passed for 3,265 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. For the second straight season, Chase Daniel will make a start in Week 17. Daniels completed 21 of 30 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown in a last-minute overtime loss to the Chargers in 2013, which clinched San Diego a playoff spot.
Kansas City opened as a 3-point home favorite. The line moved to 3 1/2 points, as of Friday before Vegas slashed the line due to the news of Smith's injury.