Led by Mathieu, Chiefs' defense becoming among NFL's best (copy)

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, left, and defensive end Frank Clark tackle Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay earlier this season in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Kansas City Chiefs fogged up the plan for two of their vital stars’ availability for Sunday’s divisional game following practice Friday.

The team conclude on-field prep for the Houston Texans without defensive tackle Chris Jones, who was limited Thursday because of a calf injury.

Coach Andy Reid said Jones “tweaked his calf” Thursday and suggested the team took a cautious approach Friday ahead of Sunday’s playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jones was officially listed as not practicing and is questionable for Sunday’s game in the team’s official injury report.

“We held him out today,” Reid said. “We’ll just see how he does.”

Reid refused to go in-depth on how Jones suffered the injury, though he practice in full Wednesday before being downgraded in back-to-back days.

If Jones can’t play Sunday, the Chiefs would likely roll with a rotation with Derrick Nnadi, Mike Pennel and rookie Khalen Saunders on the interior of the defensive line. Jones didn’t play in the regular season matchup between the squads when the Chiefs failed to record a sack in a 31-24 loss in Week 6.

Jones leads the Chiefs with nine sacks.

While Jones’ status is uncertain, the Chiefs don’t appear too concerned with tight end Travis Kelce, who was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury. Reid said the entire team would be fine to practice prior to Wednesday’s session.

Reid said Kelce’s injury is “more a bruise than anything” and was satisfied with his workload Friday.

Kelce is still listed as questionable after three straight days of limitations.

“He was out there practicing, did a nice job with the plays that was in,” Reid said.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne was excused from a third straight day of practice for personal reasons, according to Reid, and is listed as out. Claiborne, who was suspended the first four weeks of the year, hasn’t played since Week 13. The secondary is already thin entering Sunday with the loss of safety Juan Thornhill to a torn ACL.

Texans injuries

Houston wide receiver Will Fuller (groin) will once again be considered a game-time decision as Houston enters the Divisional Round to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I think it’s really going to be a game-time decision,” coach Bill O’Brien told reporters on Friday. “I think it’s kind of like a daily process with him to see where he’s at. He passes test after test and he communicates with us how he’s feeling. I think so far, so good but I think it’s going to be a game-time decision.”

Fuller missed the Texans’ overtime win over the Buffalo Bills and was considered a game-time decision all week leading up to Wild Card Weekend. Fuller sustained the groin injury early into Week 16’s win over Tampa Bay and had to miss the regular-season finale.

Fuller was a limited participant in practice the first two workouts of the week.

In eleven games played this season, Fuller has 49 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns, but this isn’t the first injury-related story for the fourth-year receiver out of Notre Dame. Fuller missed four games in the middle of the 2019 season due to a lingering hamstring.

Game day giveaways

The Chiefs are pulling out all the stops for what might be their final home game of the 2019 season.

That includes visits from former Chiefs stars who were part of the NFL’s all-time team, as well as Tamba Hali and actor Eric Stonestreet, who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas.

The first 50,000 fans attending the game will be given a commemorative 60th season Chiefs Kingdom flag.

Hali will be the “chop leader” at the drum deck prior to the game. The Chiefs said “select former Chiefs players who were named to the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time team will be recognized” on the drum deck throughout the game.

Also, Stonestreet, the “Modern Family” star, will be the “Tony DiPardo Spirit Leader.”

Raymore-Peculiar football coach Tom Kruse, who will retire at the end of the school year, will be honored. Kruse was also a football player at Northwest.

Brandon Zenner can be reached

at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.