Houston returns to practice, could play Sunday vs. Raiders

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston returned to practice for the first time in more than a month on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Fellow linebacker Tamba Hali is also questionable after missing a game with a broken thumb.

Houston has not played since he hyperextended his knee against Buffalo on Nov. 29. The Chiefs have considered him day to day ever since, though he has not participated in any workouts.

"He got good work in. We'll just see how he feels," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We'll take it from there. I've kind of said it's day by day and that's really what it is. He moved around pretty good today. We'll just see how he does here."

Hali did not participate in the workout, but that has been the norm. The Chiefs have tried to lighten his load to keep the 32-year-old Hali fresh for the end of the season.

Even if Houston or Hali does not play Sunday, the fact that they are questionable increases the likelihood they'll be available for the playoffs. Kansas City (10-5) has secured a wild-card spot and could still win the AFC West by beating Oakland and if Denver loses to San Diego.

Houston has 7 1/2 sacks this season, and Hali has 6 1/2. But even when they're not getting to the quarterback, they demand so much attention that others get loose. Despite no sacks last weekend, Kansas City still has 41 on the season, tied for fourth in the NFL.

Then there's their play against the run. Houston and Hali are far better at containing the ground game than Dee Ford and Frank Zombo, who started last week's game against Cleveland in their place.

"They're pretty good. They're a handful," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said of his starting linebackers. "They're both big, strong people. They're hard to move. Obviously, they're good football players above and beyond their ability to rush the passer."

Also, offensive tackle Jah Reid remained sidelined with a knee injury, while safety Husain Abdullah did some light work and could return from his concussion this week.

Reid declined to address the Chiefs' decision this week to put wide receiver and punt returner De'Anthony Thomas on the reserve/non-football illness list. Thomas sustained a concussion against the Chargers on Nov. 22 that kept him out four games. He was cleared to return to practice last week, and was probable on the final injury report, but he ultimately did not play against the Browns for what the team called a "non-football-related reason."

Reid said Thomas' current situation "is not concussion-related." Pressed about whether Thomas could be part of the team's plans next season, the coach replied: "I really don't know on that."

Reid added that general manager John Dorsey was handling the situation.

"I just fed you the information I know," he said.