HOUSTON – Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud was limited in practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. Stroud showed no visible issues during and after practice. If Stroud is sidelined, Davis Mills would start in his place.
Stroud didn’t do much at practice due to soreness in his throwing shoulder, but is expected to try to play Sunday, per a league source.
Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil watched practice Friday and wasn’t dressed out. He is officially questionable on the injury report.
Tunsil has been dealing with a relatively minor knee injury that has kept him out of practice Wednesday and Friday and was limited Thursday. Tunsil indicated Wednesday that he had been given a rest day. His status is still being determined for Sunday’s game.
Texans safety Jalen Pitre didn’t practice all week due to a bruised lung and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. Pitre was hospitalized overnight at Maryland Shock Trauma as a precautionary measure after coughing up blood following a knee to the chest when he blitzed Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Pitre will be replaced by M.J. Stewart, who filled in for him during a 25-9 road loss.
“Jalen is in good spirits,” Ryans said. “He’s fine, he’s back with us, so we’re happy to have him back. Great to see him back in the building, just seeing him with a smile on his face I think just brightens everyone’s day. It’s good to see him back in the building and he’ll still be day-to-day. We’ll see where he ends up.”
Meanwhile, veteran safety Jimmie Ward will miss his second game in a row due to a hip injury. Ward will be replaced by Eric Murray.
Offensive tackle George Fant has practiced all week, an encouraging development on an otherwise difficult injury front.
Fant left the game Sunday against the Ravens with a right shoulder stinger that was characterized as not serious and unlikely to be a long-term issue, per a league source.
“It’s good having Fant, I think Fant will be fine,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “It was tough seeing him go down in a game, but he’ll be fine. He’s bounced back, so we’ll see him out there again.”
Against the Ravens, the Texans went with Tunsil, left guard Josh Jones, rookie center Jarrett Patterson, right guard Shaq Mason, and Fant at right tackle. When Fant got hurt, backup Michael Deiter played one snap at right tackle and allowed a strip sack on rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. After that, Jones moved to right tackle and Deiter to left guard.
“I tried to do what was best for the team,” Jones said. “It’s kind of tough being in that situation as an offensive line with a lot of guys going down, but I think we’re capable of playing at a high level with whoever we have going out there. After the fumble, I played all of the rest of them at right tackle.”
Jones is an option at left tackle if Tunsil is held out. Under that scenario, Deiter could play left guard next to Jones.
Regular right tackle Tytus Howard is on injured reserve after undergoing hand surgery. Plus, Jones was already plugged in at left guard with Kenyon Green out for the season with a torn labrum. And the Texans were already down to Plan C at center with rookie Jarrett Patterson stepping in as the starter in his first NFL game with Scott Quessenberry out for the season with torn knee ligaments and Juice Scruggs on injured reserve with a strained hamstring.
“It feels like bad luck with injuries,” right guard Shaq Mason said. “We’ve got to get guys healthy and get them back.”
Tunsil chalked up the situation to the usual ebb and flow of the NFL.
“Just roll with it,” Tunsil said Sunday. “That’s the main thing, got to roll with it. You can’t worry about the injuries, have to worry about the next man up and getting the job done.”
As a rookie, Pitre, a former Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year led the Texans with 147 tackles and five interceptions.
Pitre recorded the most tackles among all NFL rookies and became the first player to record more than 125 tackles and intercept five passes since the tackle statistic began being tracked in 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He played 93 percent of the Texans’ total defensive snaps, rarely leaving the field.
“It’s a long season,” Murray said. “We put a lot of emphasis on the first game, but just got to learn from it and grow from it. It’s always been like that. We help each other. We know the work we put in.
“Whoever’s opportunity it is, just steps in. We did some good things on defense. Until the half, it was a pretty tight game. Got to keep building, don’t want to have that sentiment every game like last year.”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.