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.
Howard has been dealing with the injury for the past few games and the injury worsened Sunday to the point where there is a small hole between the knee and the patellar tendon, according to sources.
It’s the latest blow sustained by an offensive line that has been rocked by injuries all season, including losing Kenyon Green to a torn labrum, center Scott Quessenberry to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligaments, Kendrick Green to a torn meniscus and center Jarrett Patterson to a broken fibula.
Howard will be replaced by rookie Juice Scruggs, who made his regular-season debut against the Jaguars and played solidly after being activated from injured reserve from a hamstring injury. Michael Deiter will remain the starting center.
“Tytus has done a good job of battling through,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “Appreciate Tytus’ toughness and trying to push through and play through some difficult injuries there. Tytus is a fighter, appreciate him, He did a good job for us. As we’ve been throughout this entire year, is we’ve done ‘next man up.’
“We still have to shuffle some guys around there. Unfortunately, we’ve had to deal with this before, but we’ve done a good job of shuffling things around and guys just working well as a unit. For me, it’s always whoever steps in, ‘Can you just play to the best of your ability?’ We’ll make it work.”
Howard was officially placed on injured reserve Wednesday morning. The Texans also signed cornerback Desmond King to the active roster from the practice squad, releasing cornerback Shaq Griffin, signing kicker Matt Ammendola and linebacker Garret Wallow to the practice squad and released running back Gerrid Doaks from the practice squad. Plus, veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman has been reinstated to the active roster from the reserve-suspended list after serving a two-game suspension for a hit on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver J’Marr Chase.
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.
“It does not weigh on our team,” Ryans said. “It’s part of football, right? You lose guys. Guys get injured all the time. We don’t focus on or harp on it. We feel for our brother who went down, but we still have to move forward. We still have to go and compete and play our best.”
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.”
NOTES: Activated from the reserve-suspended list, Perryman is stepping back into the Mike linebacker spot with Blake Cashman shifting over to Sam linebacker and Christian Harris remaining at Will linebacker, per sources.
“Excited to get Denzel back,” Ryans said. “Denzel has been a physical force for us when he’s in there. Definitely need him this week, playing against the Broncos. They’re a physical unit, so Denzel being back, I think really helps our defense.”
... Ryans interviewed for the Broncos job that ultimately went to former New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning coach Sean Payton.
“The Broncos with the Penner family, awesome organization,” Ryans said. “I think they’re in really good hands. I really appreciate them for the opportunity to sit down and talk with them about the head coaching opportunity. Ended up here, it all worked out. I’m just thankful and blessed just to be in the position to have those conversations with the Broncos and, for them thinking enough of me to have those conversations. Really appreciate Mr. Greg Penner and all the people in the organization there for the Broncos. There’s not many times you get the opportunity, so thankful for that and just happy to be here with the Texans.”