Texans left offensive guard Tytus Howard is out for the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery for a left knee injury that involves his patellar tendon, according to league sources.
Howard will be placed on injured reserve for the second time this year.
Howard was carted off the field with a left knee injury and was ruled out of the remainder of the game Sunday in a 24-21 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He walked gingerly off the field with assistance from trainers, went to the blue medical tent for further examination and then headed inside the locker room on a cart.
Howard underwent magnetic resonance imaging exams and other tests Monday morning to determine the severity of his injury, per league sources. Howard was able to walk without crutches or a large brace after the game.
Howard, a 2019 first-round draft pick from Alabama State who was on injured reserve earlier this season with a badly broken hand that required surgery, was replaced by rookie Juice Scruggs with Michael Deiter remaining in at center.
Howard broke his hand Aug. 5 during training camp days after signing a three-year, $56 million contract extension.
This marked Scruggs’ NFL regular-season debut after being activated from injured reserve Saturday. The second-round draft pick from Penn State appeared to hold up well in his first action.
“It felt good being out there, definitely not he way we wanted to end it,” Scruggs said. “Felt good being out there for sure, getting in the rhythm of things, but we needed to come out with a W for sure. I just knew I was next man up. I was preparing like a starter. I just knew when my number was called I was going to be ready. Credit to the guys in front of me like Tytus, Deiter, Shaq (Mason), keeping me in the loop and keeping me prepared for the plays and everything.”
Scruggs played some guard at Penn State, but the former All-Big Ten Conference selection is viewed primarily as a center by the Texans.
“Definitely, it’s a little different,” Scruggs said. “At the end of the day, it’s football. No matter where you’re at on the line, it’s football. Just go out there and play. I did all right, definitely room for improvement. On the ground way too much, but you see next week I’ll be better and we’ll be better.”
Sources: Texans re-sign Matt Ammendola
The Texans are signing kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad after he cleared waivers, according to league sources.
The Texans brought Ammendola back after working out veteran kickers Brett Maher and Taylor Russolino on Tuesday, per sources.
The Texans plan to elevating Ammendola and have him kick Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
The Texans could designate regular kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn for return as soon as next week when he’s eligible after missing four weeks with a strained quadriceps. Fairbairn has made a speedy recovery with significant progress in recent weeks, per sources.
“We’ll keep going with Matt,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said during a Monday afternoon press conference hours before the team released Ammendola. ‘We’ll keep going, give him opportunities.”
Ammendola, 26, missed a 58-yard field goal try that hit the crossbar Sunday during a potential game-tying kick in a 24-21 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also missed a 50-yard try in that game. He missed one field goal against the Arizona Cardinals after making all three of his kicks, including a 38-yard game-winner in a major road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals when Fairbairn was placed on injured reserve.
Maher, 34, was released by the Los Angeles Rams in October after missing two field goal attempts and an extra point in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Maher made 17 of 23 field goals and was 3 of 7 from beyond 50 yards and made 12 of 13 extra points before being released.
Maher has previous stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Washington Commanders, the Texans in 2020, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Denver Broncos. He has also kicked in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
A former Nebraska standout, Maher has connected on 111 of 139 field goals and 140 of 147 extra points.
Two seasons ago, Maher became the first kicker in NFL history to hit four field goals of 60 yards or longer. Maher made 29 of 32 field goals and 9 of 11 on field goals of 50 yards or longer. He set the franchise record for most field goals over 50 yards in a season.
During the playoffs last season, Maher missed four of five extra points during the Cowboys’ wild-card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had an extra point blocked the following week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He was signed by the Broncos and then released when they traded for former New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz.
The Rams then signed Maher to their practice squad before promoting him to their active roster.
Russsolino has kicked in the XFL for the Arlington Renegades as well as the St. Louis BattleHawks, the Denver Broncos and in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes.
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.