Sports Illustrated 2020 Sportsperson of the Year Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was set to make his NFL return in 2021 after opting out of the 2020 season to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. But unfortunately for the Chiefs, that return for the Canadian medical doctor/Super Bowl-winning lineman may be put on hold.
According to reports from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Duvernay-Tardiff broke a bone in his hand during a recent practice, sidelining him for the next 4-6 weeks.
With Kansas City’s opening-game matchup against the Browns a little over a month away, a Week 1 return isn’t completely ruled out for Duvernay-Tardiff — but an ongoing competition for the starting right guard position could be slipping away from him.
#Chiefs OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif recently broke a bone in his hand at practice and is out 4-6 weeks, sources say. The good doctor, who was the 2020 @SInow Sportsperson of the Year for his work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, does have a chance to play Week 1.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 10, 2021
The former Chiefs starter is currently in competition with sixth-round pick rookie Trey Smith (Duvernay-Tardiff was also a sixth-round pick to the Chiefs back in 2014). Through two weeks of training camp practice, Smith has received the vast majority of starting reps at the right guard position.
Even if Duvernay-Tardiff is able to make his return for Week 1, it appears the rookie will land the starting job.
Duvernay-Tardiff spent five years as a starter for the Chiefs, including the 2019 season where he helped lead the squad to a Super Bowl LIV victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chiefs made some big-time additions on the offensive line this offseason. In addition to the return of Duvernay-Tardiff and the drafting of Trey Smith, Kansas City also signed veterans Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney and Austin Blythe. The team added projected starters Creed Humphrey (No. 63 overall) and Lucas Niang (No. 96 overall) in this year’s draft as well.
Kansas City will take on Cleveland in a Week 1 matchup on Sep. 12.
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