Chiefs GM John Dorsey defends Justin Houston case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs general manager John Dorsey defended the club's handling of Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston, who underwent surgery on his ACL last month and could miss the upcoming season.

In his first comments since news of the surgery became public, Dorsey said Tuesday the Chiefs' medical staff and renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews worked in concert in diagnosing and treating Houston's injury.

Houston hurt his left knee against Buffalo in November, and at the time he was diagnosed with a mere hyperextension. Houston returned for the playoffs but was so limited that he was rendered ineffective, and he ultimately had surgery to repair a ''non-functioning ligament'' in mid-February.

Dorsey said the proper course of action was taken in the rest and rehabilitation that accompanied the original injury, and that it was impossible to foresee needing an ACL surgery at that point.

''I think it was a process. That was a long process,'' Dorsey said. ''As it unfolded, you know, when you come back and they run an MRI on the thing, everything is there. You have to think it's very positive. When they went back in February, they had some other findings.''

Houston is expected to miss at least six months, Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said, and could miss up to a year. But Dorsey sounded optimistic that the 2014 All-Pro will return this season.

''The good news is Justin is going to be up here in the next couple of days,'' Dorsey said, ''and if you know anything about the doctors and training staff, these guys rehab here in the best of ways.''

Dorsey also declined to address tampering charges leveled against the Chiefs by the NFL over their signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin last offseason.

The Chiefs, Dorsey and coach Andy Reid were fined a combined $350,000 and stripped of their third- and sixth-round picks in this year's draft, though the organization is appealing the penalties.

It is unclear whether the appeal will be heard before the April draft.

''Of course it'll change a few things, but you have to make sure the diligent work you do is as good of work as you're going to do,'' Dorsey said of the potential loss of draft picks.

Dorsey did say he's been in touch with representatives for safety Eric Berry, who was designated the Chiefs' franchise player. The Chiefs would like to reach a long-term deal with Berry not only to keep him on the roster beyond next season, but also to free up salary cap space this year.

There have also been discussions with the agent for left tackle Eric Fisher, whose fifth-year option must be exercised in May, about a long-term contract. Dorsey declined to elaborate on the talks.

''We have had very positive discussions,'' he said. ''We'll continue to have those.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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