As expected, the Chiefs announced Friday that outside linebacker Justin Houston will not play on Sunday against Denver because of a right elbow injury.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
But while Houston’s MRI results revealed ligament and muscle damage in his elbow, which was dislocated in the Chiefs’ 41-38 loss to San Diego last Sunday, the injury doesn’t appear to be season-ending.
“The MRI reveals what we thought it would reveal, and that is that he’s got some ligament damage in his elbow and he’s got some muscle damage in his elbow, which is normal for a dislocation,” Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said. “He’s going through the process right now; he’s just trying to get his range of motion, trying to get the swelling down. He’s in a brace … he’s truly week-to-week. But he won’t play this weekend.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed that prognosis when he asked moments later if the injury will keep Houston out the remainder of the year.
“I would tell you no,” Reid said. “We’re optimistic. He actually feels pretty good.”
Houston has apparently made progress since the beginning of the week.
“We weren’t able to do an MRI until Wednesday because of the swelling and we couldn’t get him in a good position to do the MRI,” Burkholder said. “We’ll take this weekend and treat him, rehab him and then Monday we’ll regroup as a staff and see where he’s at.”
Reid said cornerback Sanders Commings (shoulder) will also miss the Denver game. Guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder), tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle) are all listed as questionable, though Hali seemed to move around unencumbered during the portion of practice open to reporters Friday and has already said he expects to play.
“They all practiced today and they all practiced yesterday and they moved around great,” Reid said of the latter three. “We’ll see how they do here today and the rest of tomorrow.”
Reid said DeVito missed practice Friday for what Reid deemed “personal reasons” and not “because of anything physical.” DeVito was a limited participant in practice the day before because of a knee sprain and is listed as questionable.
• For the Broncos, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (shoulder) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee) were limited participants in Friday’s practice and are questionable for Sunday. Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is also questionable, because of an illness. Running back Knowshon Moreno (ankle), cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and safety Omar Bolden (concussion) were all full participants Friday and are listed as probable, which means they will almost certainly play.
Demps mourns loss
Chiefs safety Quintin Demps stood in front of Arrowhead Stadium on Tuesday, helping his fellow defensive backs load food baskets into trucks and trailers.
In between, he talked solemnly about the importance of being thankful. But while the Thanksgiving holiday was the impetus for the Chiefs’ community service that day, it was an unfortunate recent incident that helped drive that point home for Demps.
On Nov. 18, former Oakland Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard — Demps’ friend and former teammate at the University of Texas-El Paso — died in a high-speed crash in Oakland. He was 30 years old.
“Yeah, it wasn’t a good week for me,” Demps said Tuesday, the day of Howard’s funeral. “It’s been on me heavy.”
Demps said he woke up Nov. 18 to a flood of text messages from friends about the incident and was immediately saddened. The California Highway Patrol told the Contra Costa Times that Howard was driving “ beyond recklessly” when he lost control of his BMW in the fatal crash, which also killed another driver.
“That was my dog, he was just a good dude,” Demps said. “My faith in Jesus is really (helping) me.”
Strong stretch for McCluster
Statistically speaking, Chiefs fourth-year receiver Dexter McCluster is coming off the best five-game stretch of his career.
Since the Chiefs’ 17-16 win over Houston on Oct. 20, he has caught 25 passes for for 258 yards and has been targeted a whopping 36 times, all of which are career bests for a five-game stretch.
“I try to stay away from the stats,” said McCluster, who smiled when told about those numbers. “But that’s pretty good.”
It’s not like McCluster was unaware of his increased usage, however. He currently has 37 catches for 374 yards and is on pace to surpass last year’s total (52 catches for 452 yards) with five games remaining.
“It feels good to be used, to have opportunities to go out there and make plays,” McCluster said. “I most definitely felt it, I’ve been feeling it week in and week out.”
McCluster, however, is far from satisfied. Though he’s coming of a game in which he set a season-high with seven catches, he’s still itching to break a big play on one of the plethora of short passes and screens the Chiefs have been calling for him. He has two touchdowns this season, but one came on a punt return and another came on a 28-yard vertical throw down the field.
“It’s about vision and setting up blocks for big guys,” McCluster said of his short passes. “If you can set them up and give them a chance to make the block, it will help.”
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.