The Kansas City Chiefs will have to make do without one of their best defensive players for a while. According to NFL Media, linebacker Nick Bolton will be sidelined for roughly two months after suffering a dislocated wrist during the team's victory over the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, an injury for which Bolton will require surgery.
A second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Bolton racked up 292 tackles and 20 tackles for loss through his first two seasons, emerging as one of the best young linebackers in football along the way. He had already missed three games this season due to an ankle injury, and now will obviously be expected to miss several more.
Kansas City's defense has been much improved so far this season, with the team ranking a surprising eighth in yards allowed and third in points allowed on a per-game basis. Bolton has played a significant role in that ascent. But the Chiefs do have depth at linebacker, with 2020 second-round pick Willie Gay, 2022 third-rounder Leo Chenal, and free-agent acquisition Drue Tranquill all having played roles already this year. Each of those three players should be expected to pick up more snaps while Bolton is sidelined.
The two-month timeline would see Bolton miss games against the Broncos, Dolphins, Eagles, Raiders. Packers. Bills and Patriots before possibly returning for the three-game home stretch against the Raiders, Bengals and Chargers, followed by a likely playoff run. The Chiefs would presumably want him to get at least some game action down the stretch to ramp up for their title defense, but how the wrist is healing at that time will of course determine whether or not they're able to do so.