KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe is on track for a remarkable comeback less than two months removed from back surgery to remove a herniated disk.
The Chiefs officially list Poe as probable on the injury report, and coach Andy Reid appears optimistic the two-time Pro Bowl selection will see action Sunday against the Houston Texans.
“There’s a pretty good chance,” Reid said Friday. “We’ll see how he finished up today, but there’s a pretty good chance on that.”
Exactly how much action the 6-3, 346-pound Poe sees remains to be seen, of course, and a lot will depend on how he feels.
“I’m taking it day-by-day,” Poe said Thursday. “Just going through practice like I would a regular week. It just depends on how I feel towards the end of the week.”
The Chiefs list Poe as a full participant for Friday’s practice, signaling he went full bore for a third straight day.
Still, the Chiefs could also utilize a rotation of Poe and the 6-3, 330-pound Jaye Howard, who was set to fill in if Poe missed significant time.
Whatever the team does, Poe’s defensive teammates are excited over the prospects of seeing him in the lineup.
“Dontari Poe is a big boy, so he’s a guy that we really depend on the defense,” inside linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We knew he was going to recover quick because he’s not a guy that gets hurt a lot. I’m glad – he plays right in front of me – so I’m glad he’s back.”
Inside linebacker Josh Mauga echoed Johnson.
“Anytime you get a playmaker like Poe, he disrupts everything,” Mauga said. “It helps us play fast, we can run to the ball, get over the top of him and he makes us right. Having him back out there and Jaye (Howard) is a plus for us.”
Strong safety Ron Parker points out Poe provides a boost to the backend of coverage because of the Chiefs’ press-man scheme, which relies on defensive linemen and outside linebackers to generate pressure on the quarterback.
“With Dontari Poe back on the front end, it’s real great for us,” Parker said. “The quarterback has to let the ball come out quick.”
Poe’s anticipated return has been remarkable considering he didn’t return to practice until the past week after missing all of training camp and the preseason.
And Poe’s fast recovery from back surgery is elevated to a superhuman-like recovery, a description that Parker agreed with.
“He’s our superhero to the defense,” Parker said. “We’re glad to have him back. We thought we were going to lose him for the season, but it’s a good thing to have him back.”