Sunday could be a little more difficult without Justin Houston lining up on the other side of Tamba Hali. That’s what the Chiefs are looking at right now.
Terez A. Paylor reports Houston has yet to be cleared to play on Sunday though he did practice today. From his story:
Houston suffered a head/neck injury in last Sunday’s win at Tennessee and was undergoing NFL protocol for a concussion, even though Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Houston was cleared of any concussion signs. Houston participated in practice on a limited basis Thursday.
If Houston … can’t go Sunday against the Raiders, fourth-year pro Frank Zombo … will likely start in his place.
Losing Houston Sunday would be a huge blow to the Chiefs pass rush as Houston is second in the NFL in sacks with 8 1/2. This would then have a ripple effect on the Chiefs secondary and how Bob Sutton plans to contain the Raiders’ passing game.
To Zombo’s credit, he has shown pass rushing skills in the past. He had four sacks in 13 games as a rookie before injuries slowed him down the following two seasons. He had one sack and five hurries this preseason for the Chiefs.
In addition to Houston’s injury, Kansas City has several other injured players who are on the mend. Jamaal Charles is still slowed by a blister problem on his feet, Travis Kelce underwent knee surgery and may be out for the season, Donnie Avery has missed time with a shoulder injury, and Dustin Colquitt has been limited in practice as well.
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) October 10, 2013
Good news here is Eric Fisher has been a full participant in practice this week after missing last Sunday with a concussion. Donald Stephenson struggled mightily as Fisher’s replacement. Jeff Allen and Geoff Schwartz have also been full participants.
Meanwhile, Oakland is dealing with some serious issues of their own. Starting tackle Tony Pashos may miss Sunday’s game due to a groin injury. Center Stefen Wisniewski has not practiced because of a knee injury and running back Darren McFadden has been slowed with a hamstring problem.