-- The Kansas City Chiefs are projecting Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston to return in November, nine months after he underwent surgery on a torn ACL in his left knee, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN.
Kansas City has kept it a mystery as to when Houston could or would return, but November would be the midpoint of the season, and the Chiefs are confident they will have their pass-rushing force back for the stretch run. There initially was some talk that he could miss as much time as a full year -- which would include this entire season -- but that no longer is the team's thinking, according to the source.
Houston is on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. He did not practice with the Chiefs or play in any preseason games this year.
Houston had surgery in February, and at the time he was given a range between six and 12 months to return. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated by Dr. James Andrews during the Chiefs' bye week after an Oct. 2 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Houston has led the Chiefs in sacks every season since 2012. He had 22 sacks in 2014, finishing a half-sack from the NFL single-season record. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in each of the past four seasons.
Information from ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher was used in this report.