Injuries taking toll on Chiefs despite Houston’s return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs started the day without cornerback Marcus Peters and lost linebacker Dee Ford at halftime, so even the return of linebacker Justin Houston didn’t even the ledger for the bruised and battered defense.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston made his 2016 season debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston made his 2016 season debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Peters, tied for the NFL’s interception lead entering Sunday, suffered a hip pointer against Carolina that kept him out of practice last week. He tried to go against Tampa Bay before Reid sit him down.

“He tried his heart out to be there,” Reid said. “I just sent him home to get off his leg and get that thing better. Let’s start back up tomorrow with the rehab and get going with it.”

Linebacker Dee Ford left the game late in the first half with a hamstring injury. The Chiefs also lost running back Charcandrick West late in the game. West entered the NFL’s concussion protocol with a possible head injury.

Linebacker Justin Houston, returning from offseason knee surgery, made his season debut Sunday. Coach Andy Reid said he saw positive work from the veteran.

“I think he did some good things,” Reid said. “When Dee went out he wanted to go in. We were kind of rotating them there with the other guys. He got a lot of snaps. I’m sure he’ll be sore tomorrow, but I thought he did some good things.”

Houston said he felt comfortable on the field, but needs to rebuild his stamina.

“It’s not where I want to be,” Houston said. “I want to be out there every play. Of course that is not going to happen starting this game.”

Houston lined up at his customary spot on the left side of the defense, with Ford moving to the right side. When Houston rotated out of the game for Tamba Hali or Frank Zombo, Ford moved back to the left side.

“That’s the side I always play on, so it was understood,” Houston said. “He  went to the right and I went to the side I normally play.”

Houston said it felt good to be back on the field.

“It would have felt better if we could have pulled out a victory,” Houston said. “The game speed was not a problem for me at all. I think I felt great.”

The Chiefs also played starting defense end Jaye Howard as well as wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Both were inactive for Sunday’s game.

Kansas City entered the game with five players questionable due to injury, including linebacker Derrick Johnson (hamstring), defensive tackle Dontari Poe (knee/back) and cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee).

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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