KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A little more than a month after Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe had surgery to remove a herniated disk from his back, coach Andy Reid opened the possibility that he could be ready to play in the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Texans.
"He's doing great," Reid said. "He's made big strides. I can just tell he's at least on schedule, if not a little bit ahead. He's had a great attitude with the whole thing.
"He says he's going to play in the first game. I go, 'OK, all right, we'll see.' Then the doctors have to evaluate him. That's really the thing -- the time and how it's healing. That's up to the docs."
Poe will not practice Monday as the Chiefs get back to work for the first time since Friday night's preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Poe had the surgery, called a microdiscectomy, on July 15 in his hometown of Memphis. He rejoined the Chiefs in time for the start of their recently concluded training camp and, though he never made it to the practice field while his teammates were working, he was a common sight around the campus of Missouri Western State University.
Poe could be seen making his own way around campus to join his teammates in the cafeteria for meals and working out in the team's weight room.
Asked whether it was realistic to expect Poe back by the Houston game, Reid said, "We'll see."
"Let's see how he does in this phase with the exercise part of it," Reid said. "So far, it's gone well, but let's see how that goes. That's kind of where the docs are at. He hasn't run or done that. So we'll see in that next phase where that goes. He's moving around. He hasn't had any setbacks, so I guess that's a positive."
It's one thing for Poe to be cleared to play, and another for a 345-pound player to get himself into football shape.
"There's shape, and then there's football shape you have to get into," Reid said. "They're two different things. You can be great distance running and all those things and lifting, but there's the football playing part of it that you have to get yourself used to doing."