Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe has not played during the preseason, and he spent the entirety of training camp watching from the sideline after undergoing back surgery in July.
But on Monday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Poe recently practiced and will continue to practice this week, which means he could have a shot at playing against the Houston Texans in the Chiefs' season opener on Sunday.
“Poe will start practice, it will be a limited number of reps — we'll just kind of monitor him,” Reid said. “He went through our 10-10-10 (practice) yesterday and did well, and he's on schedule to possibly have an opportunity to play against the Texans. We'll just see how he does here once he gets the pads on on Wednesday.
“But he feels good, he felt good after yesterday's work, and we'll see how things go. We'll kind of take it day-by-day.”
Poe underwent surgery in July for a herniated disk that started to bother him during organized team activities. Poe has not participated since the start of training camp, but Reid said in late July that Poe has a reasonable chance of returning in the early part of the season.
Poe, who is listed at 6 feet 3 and 346 pounds, is a two-time Pro Bowler who could definitely help the Chiefs against a difficult early slate.
After Poe's initial diagnosis, former NFL team physician David J. Chao and Neel Anand, orthopedic surgeon and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, both that said three months is a pretty standard estimate when it comes to recovery time for this injury, which could put him back on the field sometime in October.
But general manager John Dorsey made it clear that if he plays, it's because Poe is ready to do so, and not because he's being rushed back.
“All along what we've got here, is we've been monitoring this from the training room perspective and the advice we're getting from the trainers is a great indication right now,” Dorsey said. “Right now, it's going along very (well). It's exactly where we thought it would be at this stage.
“It's first about the kid himself, you want to do what's best for the kid as we move forward here,” And I think, with this training staff, and you know they've demonstrated the ability to get these things right on line — I think they've done a nice job with that.”