It was the first half of a November 24 game against the San Diego Chargers when Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston hit the deck with a dislocated elbow. It was said to be a multi-week injury, the timeline of 2-3 weeks was thrown around by others (but not the Chiefs).
We're coming up on a month later and we all still have the same question. Will Houston be healthy enough to play this week? Should he even play this week?
"Well like any player, the first priority is you want him healthy," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said on Thursday. "That's not earth-shattering or anything, but obviously I think it is advantageous for him if he can get out there. It's a benefit. The first priority is to get him 100 percent healthy and the second is getting him out there, getting him used to it. He has to get used to playing with a brace and all of those things. Like I said, we would love to have him out there, but we'll just have to wait, day-to-day and see where he is going to be."
Interesting that Sutton says Houston needs to get used to playing with a brace. I'm guessing he will be wearing that at first, perhaps for longer than that.
Houston has been a limited participant in practice this week, the first week he has been back at practice. Sutton talked on Thursday as if they were still holding out hope that Houston could play on Sunday against Indy.
"Well you know he is practicing and is in a lot of the drills," Sutton said. "He has worked with the first group. It's just really day-to-day and drill-to-drill. It's great to see him back out there, but the thing I really appreciate about Justin is that he is practicing like he is trying to play and that's what we need him to do and hopefully we can get him in. It would be a great boost for us."
The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot but the No. 1 seed is still out there. That's why I would not be surprised to see Houston play this game. If the Chiefs weren't in the middle of a competition for the AFC West title, I would certainly be in favor of resting him. But with a division title on the line? You gotta put him on the field if he's healthy.
One more reason it's important he should play. The Chiefs haven't exactly faced a Pro Bowl line-up of quarterbacks this year. Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and ... that's about it. Andrew Luck is a really good quarterback. The Chiefs are going to face really good quarterbacks in the playoffs. So it's important that Houston plays someone like that if he's physically able to. Every little bit helps.
I asked the "play him or rest him" question to Chiefs fans on Twitter and the majority, by far, was that they should play him if he's healthy.
@ArrowheadPride @adamteicher Possible 1 seed still out there, if he's ready, you have to play him.— Joel Herring (@joelherring) December 19, 2013
@ArrowheadPride @adamteicher I'd say play him..he needs to be in game shape by the time the playoffs start— Trevor Arsenault (@ArsenaultTrevor) December 19, 2013
@ArrowheadPride Still in play for the division and 1st seed, so play him if healthy.— AJ King (@allday_ajking) December 19, 2013
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