Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston, one of the premier defenders in the NFL, is opening the season on the PUP list, which puts him out at least six weeks. However, according to a team source, the Chiefs are not expecting him back on that timetable.
Houston, who signed a massive contract extension prior to the 2015 season, is still recovering from a significant knee injury and will not be back until November at the earliest, according to the source. Week 9, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, would be the earliest the team projects Houston to return, and the hope is to have him back to full speed for the final push to the playoffs. The Chiefs won 11 games and finally broke through for the first postseason victory since the Joe Montana era, and the expectation is for Andy Reid’s team to take another step in 2016.
Houston is arguably the Chiefs’ best player, regardless of position, and someone who if healthy for a full season would be on the short list for potential Defensive Player of the Year honors. He suffered the knee injury late last season and had his ACL repaired in February. Houston is assured of missing a difficult opening stretch of the season in which the Chiefs, after hosting rebuilding San Diego, face a gauntlet of AFC playoff hopefuls in Houston, New York and Pittsburgh, and then Oakland after the bye.
At this point there is reason to believe this internal timeline will hold up, though Houston will go for further evaluation during the bye week. If he continues to progress as he has been, then a return in November is expected.
Source: CBS Sports / Chiefs don’t expect to have Justin Houston back before November