Bulky brace more of a problem than knee injury for Justin Houston

Justin Houston is getting used to playing with a brace on his knee. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Justin Houston said he can play with the knee injury that caused him to miss the final five games of the regular season. But the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker reported that the bulky brace he has to wear to protect the injured knee is a bigger problem.

“It’s doing [well]," Houston said of his injured knee. “[It’s] a little sore from that brace. The brace beat me up more than anything."

In fact, Houston left last Saturday's playoff game against the Houston Texans for a stretch of plays because of the brace and not the injury. Houston said it’s the first time he’s ever played with a brace on the knee.

“I kept banging my leg against the brace," he said. “If I felt comfortable playing without it, I’d go out there [without] it. But I feel safe with it. Playing with that thing is never comfortable. I just have to get used to it."

Houston didn’t practice Tuesday and was unsure whether he would join his teammates for Wednesday's workout. But Houston and the Chiefs are confident he will play in Saturday’s divisional round playoff game against the New England Patriots.

Houston was credited with three tackles, but no sacks, against the Texans. He led the Chiefs in sacks during the regular season with 7.5 despite missing the five games.

“I feel like I played [well against] the run," Houston said of his play against the Texans. “In the pass rush I felt rusty. I definitely had to knock some rust off. As the game went on I felt like I was doing better."