Texans nickel back and special-teams ace Tavierre Thomas is injured.
Thomas has a pulled quadriceps and is out indefinitely, according to league sources.
The injury is a setback to the Texans' defense and special-teams units. They will lean heavily on nickel back Desmond King, Tremon Smith and others to make up for Thomas' absence in the secondary.
Thomas had a career-high 86 tackles and two interceptions last season in 16 games with one forced fumble. He played 56 percent of the defensive snaps and 67 percent of the special teams snaps.
Signed to a two-year, $4 million contract last year that includes $2 million guaranteed with a $1 million signing bonus, Thomas started a career-high three games last season.
The former undrafted free agent from Ferris State had a breakthrough season last year for the Texans and had consistently drawn praise from Texans coach Lovie Smith.
In other injury news, Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown is sidelined with a tight hamstring. The injury isn't regarded as a long-term setback.
Other players not practicing include tight end Antony Auclair (sprained right knee) and linebackers Garret Wallow (ankle) and Christian Harris (hamstring).
Defensive end Mario Addison returned to practice after testing positive for COVID-19, the fourth player to test positive and return after offensive tackle Tytus Howard, long snapper Jon Weeks and quarterback Kyle Allen.
Rookie offensive guard Kenyon Green, a first-round draft pick from Texas A&M and a former Atascosita High School standout, has returned to practice from a concussion. Green had offseason knee surgery that has also limited his practice time since being drafted 15th overall.
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and contributor to Sports Talk 790.