HOUSTON – Texans veteran offensive tackle Tytus Howard is doing great in his recovery after breaking his hand during training camp in two places, undergoing surgery that involved having metal hardware inserted to aid the healing process and is on track to be activated from injured reserve next week, according to league sources.
Barring any unexpected snag, Howard should return to practice next week in advance of a road game against the Atlanta Falcons, per sources. Howard has maintained his usual exercise routine and has been attending practices and meetings. Whether the Texans have him play immediately against Atlanta is undecided, per sources.
George Fant has done a solid job at right tackle for three games for the Texans. When Howard returns, he could step back into his natural right tackle spot. Howard also has a background at left tackle and lined up there in the past when Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was sidelined with a thumb ligament injury two seasons ago and was placed on injured reserve. Now, Tunsil is dealing with a painful knee injury that has kept him out of the past two games.
Howard, signed to a three-year, $56 million contract extension at the start of camp, dealt with swelling in hand at the start of the season and it was determined that it wasn’t a good idea for him to rush back to play after suffering a time table with an original recovery timetable of four to six weeks. Instead, Howard is poised to return in a two-month span.
“Thank you everyone for all the hand donations lol but I’ll be good,” Howard wrote on social media when he was placed on injured reserve and it was decided that he would miss games against the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’ll be back soon better than ever.”
The heftiest investments for the Texans’ roster has been their expensive and necessary spending at the offensive line position to protect rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, who has passed for 906 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions despite missing four original starters across the line. Right guard Shaq Mason is the only original starter from the start of camp to start every game.
The Texans have started Josh Jones at left tackle the past two games with Tunsil sidelined. Tunsil badly wants to play and has been rehabbing constantly, but has been dealing with significant pain and stiffness in his knee along with swelling that affects mobility, according to sources.
His outlook remains complicated on a short-term basis and perhaps longer because of a problematic knee injury. Tunsil is in supreme physical condition, but has also dealt with the rigors of the game that has taken a toll on his knee. He was limited in practice last week, was listed as questionable initially on the injury report and then was ruled out for a road game against the Jaguars and he didn’t travel.
The Texans, after allowing a league-high 11 sacks in the first two games, allowed zero sacks against the Jaguars as Stroud was only hit four times.
If Tunsil is unable to play against the Steelers, then Jones is expected to start his third game in a row.
Tunsil was signed to a three-year, $75 million contract extension that made the three-time Pro Bowl left offensive tackle the highest paid offensive lineman in the league for the second time. And the Texans traded for and signed Mason, a former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter, to a three-year, $36 million deal.
Rookie starting center Juice Scruggs, a second-round draft pick from Penn State who was placed on short-term injured reserve with a strained hamstring, is expected to be activated as soon as next week with a chance of playing against the New Orleans Saints if he’s practicing next week before the Atlanta game, per sources.
In the wake of former starting center Scott Quessenberry out for the entire season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and Scruggs being out, rookie Jarrett Patterson has started the first three games at center with Kendrick Green starting at left guard the past two games.
Aaron Wilson is a contributor for SportsTalk790