Chiefs take wait-and-see approach on LB Justin Houston’s knee injury

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs coach Andy Reid offered a message of caution Monday afternoon surrounding outside linebacker Justin Houston’s knee injury.

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The head coach said after Sunday’s game that Houston, who went down in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills, suffered a “knee sprain” on the same knee injured during a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 4, 2014.

Reid told reporters Monday he believed Houston sustained a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury against the Colts, but stopped short of confirming the exact nature and severity of Houston’s current injury.

“He’s going to get an MRI today, so that’s why I don’t want to put anything out there,” Reid said. “I just want to see what that is and how bad it is and all that, and we’ll go from there. He’s doing OK, but we’re going to see what it is.”

Reid also chose to not speculate on how long Houston’s injury against the Colts would have kept the linebacker out of action.

“I couldn’t even tell you that,” Reid said. “I don’t know that.”

Certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts of the St. Vincent Health Systems in Little Rock, Ark., didn’t treat or evaluate Houston.

Stotts, however, provided an overview and opinion during a telephone interview Monday afternoon on the recovery timeframe for PCL-related injuries based on his background.

“It’s hard to pinpoint because it will all depend on the severity of the sprain,” said Stotts, who holds PES and CES certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “If it’s a low-grade sprain, it’s obviously on the quicker end of the spectrum. You’re talking one, potentially two weeks.

“If it’s more progressive, Grade II, which indicates some partial tearing, you’re talking about a more extensive tear and you’re talking about obviously a little bit longer recovery process. And then if it were for whatever reason a higher grade, which would be a complete tear, now you’re talking likely surgical intervention and out for a significant stretch.”

Stotts said the recovery time will vary for the Grade II injury, and could range from three to four weeks on the early end or potentially extend to six weeks.

And Stotts further points out rehabilitation will depend on the patient.

“As long as there is stability in the knee,” Stotts said. “That’s always the big question mark with the knee, is does the damage accrued limit the stability of the knee? Because if you go out there with a compromised PCL, now you run the risk of doing something to the ACL, which as we know is a multi-month recovery process following surgery.”

The scenarios Stotts mentioned help explain why the Chiefs are proceeding with caution on offering information without the results of Houston’s MRI.

The Chiefs head coach emphasized that point when responding to a question if there were concerns the injury could have season-ending implications.

“That’s why I’m kind of reserved on it,” Reid said. “I want to see – when you start dealing with this stuff, you want to see what the MRI tells you. Let’s leave it at that and see what happens.”

NOTES: Reid didn’t have updates on left tackle Eric Fisher (neck) and rookie center Mitch Morse (concussion), both of whom did not finish Sunday’s game against the Bills … Reid also didn’t have an update on left guard Ben Grubbs, who has missed four straight games with a neck injury … “We’re just kind of taking it day-by-day and seeing how he does,” Reid said of Grubbs. “That’s kind of where we’re at with him.”


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