ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Chiefs will conduct training camp practices without defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who underwent back surgery on July 15.
Poe, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, originally suffered a back injury on June 2 during organized team activities. The Chiefs held him out the final six OTA practices, but he returned for minicamp.
Poe aggravated the back injury on July 8 while working out at home, head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Tuesday.
Burkholder said Poe underwent “successful surgery” on July 15 in Memphis, Tenn., to remove a herniated disc. Poe is currently in Memphis, but will report to St. Joseph on Friday.
Poe, however, won’t participate in physical activity during training camp.
“He’ll have extensive treatment and rehab,” Burkholder said, “and I’ve told the coaches we won’t talk about any more activity until after we get out of training camp. For training camp purposes, he’ll be with me. But he’ll be in meetings and all that kind of stuff, and he’s recovering fine.”
How much time Poe, who turns 25 on Aug. 18, misses before returning remains unclear.
“I think he stands a reasonable chance to the early part of the season, whether it’s the beginning or somewhere early in the season for his return,” coach Andy Reid said. “You just have to see how things recover and how he recovers there. It’s a positive thing and it’s something he needed to get done as opposed to having that other deal antagonize him throughout the season.”
The 6-3, 346-pound Poe, who established a career-high six sacks in 2014, hardly leaves the field as evidenced by Poe producing more than 1,000 total snaps in two straight seasons.
Poe was a mainstay on the inside of the defense, and the Chiefs now face the task of finding a player to replace arguably a defender the team can’t afford to be without.
Reid said defensive tackle Jaye Howard would get the first shot at filling in for Poe, and the Chiefs could work in defensive end Mike DeVito or rookie Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
Defensive linemen Nick Williams, Jerel Worthy and rookie Charles Tuaau are the other options on the roster.