Justin Houston puts in full practice; Jeremy Maclin limited

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Jan. 6, 2015; Kansas City, MO; General view of the players warming up during the portion of practice open to the media at the Chiefs' indoor training facility.

Jan. 6, 2015; Kansas City, MO; General view of the players warming up during the portion of practice open to the media at the Chiefs’ indoor training facility.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs are a step closer to having a healthier defense for Saturday’s opening round of the playoffs against the Houston Texans.

While outside linebacker Dee Ford (concussion) did not practice, Justin Houston is on track to return to the starting lineup after putting in a full practice Wednesday.

This marked Houston’s first full practice since Nov. 27, 2015. Ford filled in for Houston the final five games of the regular season after Houston suffered a hyperextended knee in Week 12.

Free safety Husain Abdullah (concussion, not injury related), linebacker Tamba Hali (thumb, knee) and rookie center Mitch Morse (concussion) also didn’t practice Wednesday.

The Chiefs continue to err on the side of caution by holding out Hali from practicing on the indoor turf to protect his knee, so there isn’t a concern with Hali not working. He missed all three days of indoor practices last week and saw action in the season finale.

Morse, who suffered the concussion in the season finale, was observed on the sidelines without his helmet during the portion of practice open to the media. Second-year pro Zach Fulton will likely start Saturday if Morse is unavailable.

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip) and right tackle Jah Reid (knee) are officially designated as limited.

Signs point to Maclin being available Saturday, however.

The Chiefs have a policy against players not putting in a full practice from talking to the media, but allowed Maclin to engage reporters Tuesday and Wednesday.

Donald Stephenson is in line to start a second straight game at right tackle if Reid can’t play.

The Chiefs list guard Jeff Allen (ankle), wide receiver Chris Conley (thumb), tight end Travis Kelce (groin) and running back Spencer Ware (rib) as full participants in practice.

The Texans list 19 players on the initial injury report.

Defensive end J.J. Watt (groin, hand) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hand) were limited, while linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (foot) did not practice.

Wednesday’s injury report as released by the Chiefs:

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Practice report

Did not participate in practice: S Husain Abdullah (concussion, not injury related), LB Dee Ford (concussion, wrist), LB Tamba Hali (thumb, knee), C Mitch Morse (concussion)
Limited participation: WR Jeremy Maclin (hip), T Jah Reid (knee)
Full participation: G Jeff Allen (ankle), WR Chris Conley (thumb), LB Justin Houston (knee), TE Travis Kelce (groin), RB Spencer Ware (rib)

HOUSTON TEXANS

Practice report

Did not participate in practice: LB Jadeveon Clowney (foot), WR Nate Washington (hip)
Limited participation: RB Alfred Blue (calf), TE Ryan Griffin (achilles), WR DeAndre Hopkins (hand), CB Kevin Johnson (foot, wrist), C Ben Jones (knee), P Shane Lechler (left hamstring), T Derek Newton (elbow, shoulder), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring), LB John Simon (chest), DE J.J. Watt (groin, hand)
Full participation: CB A.J. Bouye (knee), LB Max Bullough (shoulder), S Quintin Demps (shoulder), CB Kareem Jackson (ankle), LB Whitney Mercilus (back), RB Chris Polk (knee), G Xavier Su’a-Filo (calf)

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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