KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs are on track to have outside linebacker Justin Houston (knee) for the 2016 regular season, after all.
“I’m not a medical expert, but I can tell you that Justin Houston will be playing this season,” general manager John Dorsey said Friday. “When is a good time – but not being a medical expert – I really can’t definitively tell you that answer. But I would say our doctors have reassured us that he will play this season.”
The 27-year-old Houston underwent a procedure on his left anterior cruciate ligament in mid-February.
Houston’s ACL wasn’t torn and the Chiefs originally said the star linebacker’s recovery period ranged between six to 12 months, which placed doubt on Houston’s availability for the regular season.
The concern that Houston, who originally suffered a hyperextended knee in Week 12 of the 2015 season, may not play is effectively alleviated.
“He’s ahead of schedule,” Dorsey said. “I think, one of the guys showed me this video, I mean, (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and he have been talking on a basis, he was up here last week.
“I think they are now working together and trying to work out the process, the rehabilitation process. He’s doing great, I mean, he is dialed in, he’s excited. When you hear from him you say he’s going to be Justin Houston when he gets back here.”
In the event Houston does miss time, however, the Chiefs are comfortable with the current projected starters on the roster, specifically outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Dee Ford.
The Chiefs, of course, need depth behind the two veterans, and Dorsey is keeping options open.
“Now the key there is to have rotational depth and does that rotational depth come from within our system right now or do we go and get it in the draft?,” Dorsey said. “I think as the draft goes along, you’ll see what happens there.”
What the Chiefs accomplish to bolster depth ahead of the regular season remains to be seen, but Dorsey made it clear Houston is part of the team’s plans.
“At the end of the day, that guy, No. 50, he’ll be here,” Dorsey said.