KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs for the first time this season experienced life without outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, as the players didn’t dress in Sunday’s 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Whether the Chiefs have both linebackers in the lineup for Week 17’s season finale against the Oakland Raiders remains in the air.
“Day-to-day situation,” coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday. “We’ll see how that goes. They’ve both been rehabbing and working hard.”
Houston has missed four straight games with a hyperextended knee, while Hali was inactive after undergoing surgery to repair a broken right thumb earlier last week.
But while Houston and Hali weren’t on the field, Reid was fully aware of their presence during Sunday’s game.
“They were both driving me crazy on the sideline yesterday like they wanted to be in there,” Reid said. “That’s a good sign; they were into it.”
Reid complimented Frank Zombo, who started in place for Hali, and pointed out second-year pro Dee Ford has received valuable repetitions while filling in for Houston.
Zombo and Ford were among seven Chiefs defenders to play on all 68 defensive snaps against the Browns.
Zombo finished the game with one tackle, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. Ford recorded a tackle, adding three quarterback hits on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Ford’s ability to pressure the quarterback drew praise from the Chiefs head coach.
“Even though he didn’t get home, he was right there and hitting him,” Reid said. “We’ve filled in a few people and I think they’ve done a good job.”
Meanwhile, Reid said safety Husain Abdullah, who has missed four straight games with a concussion, also remains day-to-day.
But Reid appeared optimistic Abdullah could return to action soon.
“He’s close to being back,” Reid said, “so pretty good chance he’ll be back this week.”
Reid said wide receiver/punt returner De’Anthony Thomas will “probably work” when the Chiefs return to practice ahead of Week 17’s game.
Thomas did not play in Weeks 12-15 after suffering a concussion in Week 11, but the missed game against the Browns was for what Reid categorized as “personal issues” during postgame remarks Sunday.
“I’m just glad he’s physically OK,” Reid said Monday of Thomas. “That’s the important thing.”
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.