KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Denver Broncos know they will be missing at least one piece from their defensive front seven Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, who could be without their own cornerstone linebacker in Justin Houston.
Houston did not practice again Friday, and the team listed him questionable for Sunday night. But coach Andy Reid appeared to leave the door open for Houston to play despite not practicing the last three days.
“We figured he wouldn’t go today,” Reid said. “That was all part of it even back a couple of days ago. We’re just taking it slow again. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to play.”
Reid said again said knee inflammation is common place for players returning from surgery. But he stressed each player is different, drawing a distinction between Houston and the knee inflammation affecting cornerback Phillip Gaines. Gaines also did not practice the last three days and appears likely to miss his fifth game of the season.
The coach said the team would keep tabs on Houston’s progress leading up to Sunday night’s kickoff.
“We’ll just see how he does here over the next couple of days,” Reid said. “But he’s making progress is the most important thing, just trying to get the swelling out of there.”
The Broncos meanwhile know a hamstring injury will keep linebacker Brandon Marshall on the sideline. The team also listed starting safety T.J. Ward out with a concussion, along with tight ends A.J. Derby and Virgil Green.
Denver also listed defensive end Derek Wolfe questionable with a neck injury.
The Chiefs designated linebacker Justin March-Lillard to return from injured reserve earlier this week. That move frees him to resume practicing with the team. But Reid said he doubts the linebacker to return to the active roster for the Broncos.
“He got back in, he got in the swing of things and had a couple of nice days,” Reid said.
That means this Chiefs likely will continue to use D.J. Alexander alongside Ramik Wilson in the team’s base 3-4 defense
OUT: LB Brandon Marshall, S T.J. Ward, TE A.J. Derby and TE Virgil Green
QUESTIONABLE: DE Derek Wolfe
Did not participate in practice: LB Brandon Marshall (hamstring), TE A.J. Derby (concussion), TE Virgil Green (concussion), S T.J. Ward (concussion) and DE Derek Wolfe (neck)
Limited participation: None
Full participation: DE Jared Crick (rib cage) and LB DeMarcus Ware (neck), C Matt Paradis (hip), LB Todd Davis (rib cage), WR Bennie Fowler (knee), QB Trevor Simien (foot/hip), T Russell Okung (not injury related), CB Chris Harris Jr. (not injury related), CB Aqib Talib (not injury related), S Darian Stewart (not injury related), LB Von Miller (not injury related), WR Demaryius Thomas (not injury related, WR Emmanuel Sanders (not injury related) and WR Cody Latimer (shoulder)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
OUT: CB Phillip Gaines
QUESTIONABLE: LB Justin Houston
Did not participate in practice: LB Justin Houston (knee), LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Phillip Gaines (knee)
Limited participation: None
Full participation: TE Demetrius Harris (foot) and DL Kendall Reyes (wrist)
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.