Although the Texans' Sunday kickoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn't been impacted by an outbreak of COVID cases, the pandemic continues to affect their roster.
Texans starting offensive guard Justin McCray was placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list Friday, joining linebackers Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill, safety A.J. Moore, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, safety Terrence Brooks, injured defensive end DeMarcus Walker and practice squad running back Jaylon Samuels and practice squad cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc.
Unless McCray is cleared under the NFL-NFLA updated protocols, then Max Scharping will start at right offensive guard against the Jaguars.
Only one player has been activated from the COVID list this week: starting running back David Johnson on Monday.
There were 36 positive tests, an NFL record, on Monday, according to the NFL, which postponed the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams and Washington Football Team-Philadelphia Eagles games to Tuesday and the Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns game to Monday.
“Once a guy gets COVID, the NFL has protocols that he has to go through," Texans coach David Culley said Friday before McCray was added to the COVID list. "We go through it. All of our guys are vaccinated that have gotten COVID, so the thing is we just move on and wait until they are able to pass the tests consecutively and see if they are able to get on the field or not. Other than that, the next man moves up.”
Culley indicated he wasn't sure which, if any, of the players might be able to be activated that have tested positive.
“Well, I’m not really sure yet," he said. "We’ll have a little bit more clarity on that tomorrow because of when some of those guys became COVID positive.”
The Texans are wearing masks indoors and holding virtual meetings.
"Everything is virtual as far as our meetings," Culley said. "We actually get to be on the field with them just like normal, except any time we’re off the field is basically a virtual thing. Everybody has to wear a mask at all times other than when we’re on the field. It’s the same thing when we travel. But basically, we’re just going with the protocols that they’ve assigned us to do.”
Meanwhile, the Texans officially ruled out safety Justin Reid due to a concussion. Eric Murray and Jonathan Owens will be the starting safeties. The Texans will go with rookie Garret Wallow at linebacker along with Neville Hewitt and Kevin Pierre-Louis.
Tight end Brevin Jordan didn't practice Friday due to a hand injury and is questionable along with Pierre-Louis (hamstring, wrist) and running back Rex Burkhead (hip, quadriceps). Burkhead was not expected by Culley to play earlier in the week, but has returned to practice on a limited basis.
Texans players, including safety Eric Murray, said they’re taking every precaution.
“Just the usual: mask up, wash your hands, social distance, and things like that,” Murray said. “I think right now with the holidays coming around and stuff, it’s more important to do those types of things and work on those. That’s really been the general message.
“You’ve got to do what’s best for you to protect yourself. I’ve got kids, me personally, so anything that’s available for me to protect them, I’m going to do that.”