The Chiefs will officially begin the season without Justin Houston.
On Tuesday, trainer Rick Burkholder said Houston, who is rehabbing an injured anterior cruciate ligament, will open the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
“He’s right around the six-month mark, and so he needs a little bit more time, and so this all part of the planned process,” Burkholder said.
Because Houston is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, he would not be eligible to play for the first six weeks of the season. Burkholder said Houston is scheduled to be examined by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews during the Chiefs’ bye week.
“We’ll reassess the situation then,” Burkholder said.
It remains unclear when Houston, whose ACL was repaired in February because it was not functioning properly, will be able to play again. He did rehab outside for the first time on Monday, however.
Houston isn’t the only linebacker with an injury situation. Burkholder said Josh Mauga, the expected starter at inside linebacker next to Derrick Johnson, is expected to miss the entire season with a labral tear in his hip. He will have surgery Sept. 8.
“That will put him down for the year because it’s a long rehab process,” Burkholder said.
Mauga, who suffered the injury early in training camp, has been replaced in the starting lineup by second-year pro Justin March, who is backed up by fellow second-year pro Ramik Wilson.
Burkholder said the Chiefs also waive-injured fullback Trey Millard, who tore the ACL in his left knee against the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 20. Burkholder said Millard had the injury repaired by Andrews on Monday and has started the rehab process. He is expected to return to the Chiefs once he clears waivers and to continue his rehab.
The moves, combined with the recent releases of receiver Mitch Mathews and offensive lineman Garrick Mayweather, helped the Chiefs get down to 76 men before the 75-man cutdown deadline, which was 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Chiefs also announced they have received a roster exemption for Eric Berry, so they didn’t need to make additional moves to comply with the cutdown rules.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Berry’s roster exemption expires on Saturday, however, which means the Chiefs will still need to clear 23 more roster spots to get down to 53 men by 3 p.m. Saturday.