The Kansas City Chiefs have already proven to be one of the NFL's elite defenses this season and added reinforcement might soon be on the way.
Head coach Andy Reid gave an update Monday on four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Justin Houston, who hasn't yet played this season because of offseason knee surgery.
"We'll just pick up where we left off last week and see how he's doing," Reid explained of Houston, who was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Wednesday and was a limited participant in practice all last week. "If he can get in there and roll, then he'll get in there and roll. If he can't, then he can't."
Houston was declared out for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers by Reid on Friday, and despite Houston saying he believes he's ready to get back in there when he spoke with the media last week, Reid said Houston understands why they're taking it slow with his return.
"I think players want you to take their best interests and as long as they know you're doing that and you're not playing games with them, I think they're OK," Reid added.
Reid did say he's optimistic that Houston's return will be sooner rather than later, not ruling out the possibility of him playing his first game of the year on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It's just going to depend on how Houston does this week at practice.
"[Houston] has done a great job of keeping open communication," Reid added. "I know he was feeling pretty good as we ended the week last week, but I haven't talked to him today (Monday). I know he's looking forward to getting back in there. We upped his workload last week and he felt pretty good, so we'll just have to see how he does this week.
"We're getting close. We're pretty close here."
What the Chiefs are "close" to getting back is a pass rusher who has 40.5 sacks over the past four years, which came in just 38 games and ranks second in the NFL, only behind the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt, who has 50 sacks in 51 games since the start of the 2013 season.
When healthy, Houston is one of the NFL's elite defensive playmakers and he's about to join a defense that's allowed just 15.2 points per game over the past five games, which is second best in the NFL over that span (Arizona Cardinals, 14.8).
It's also worth noting that in those five weeks, the Chiefs have faced three of the NFL's top seven scoring offenses (No. 2-New Orleans Saints, No. 5-Oakland Raiders and No. 7-Indianapolis Colts).
Houston's eventual return means even greater things for this defense.