Texans coach David Culley was noncommittal on if Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will be designated for return from injured reserve this week.
Tunsil underwent successful thumb surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in October. Tunsil is out of the cast and was able to attend practices without participating and has made steady progress in his recovery.
Culley said Monday that Tunsil is further ahead of center Justin Britt, who is on injured reserve with a hyperextended and bruised knee.
"We'll see how it is," Culley said during a press conference at NRG Stadium. "They're in rehab right now. I know Justin is a probably a little bit further away than Laremy is as far as coming back, but I'll know more later in the week about where Laremy is."
Culley added that practice squad offensive guard Lane Taylor is healthy, but made no indication that he would be promoted to the active roster this week.
Without Tunsil and Britt and Marcus Cannon, the Texans have started Geron Christian Sr. at left tackle, Tytus Howard at left guard, rookie Jimmy Morrissey at center, Justin McCray ahead of Max Scharping at right guard and Charlie Heck at right tackle.
One of the top blockers in the NFL, Tunsil was initially going to attempt to play through the injury and forego surgery until after the season, but it was determined that the best course of action was to immediately have surgery. The UCL is attached to the middle joint of the thumb, which keeps the thumb stable to allow to pinch and grasp objects.
Tunsil left during a 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots in the first half after falling on the ground while blocking in the final minutes of the second quarter.
One year after signing Tunsil to a three-year, $66 million contract extension that included $50 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus, the Texans restructured that deal this offseason to create $10.106 million in salary cap space. Signed to a three-year, $66 million contract extension a year ago that included $50 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus with an average of $22 million annually, Tunsil's original $16.15 million base salary was converted into a $15.16 million signing bonus. He now has a $990,000 fully guaranteed base salary for 2021 and a salary cap figure of $9.29 million, down from $19.4 million.
Including the fifth-year club option of $10.85 million Tunsil was paid last year, the deal still has a total value of $76.35 million.