Texans Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was diagnosed Monday with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb after a magnetic resonance imaging exam was conducted, and the injury will eventually require surgery, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.
Tunsil is going to attempt to play through the injury, if possible, and could forego surgery until after the season if he's able to handle his blocking assignments. The UCL is attached to the middle joint of the thumb, which keeps the thumb stable to allow to pinch and grasp objects.
The Texans went with Geron Christian at left tackle when Tunsil got hurt Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Tunsil left during a 25-22 loss to the Patriots in the first half after falling on the ground while blocking in the final minutes of the second quarter.
One year after signing Tunsil to a three-year, $66 million contract extension that included $50 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus, the Texans restructured that deal this offseason to create $10.106 million in salary cap space. Signed to a three-year, $66 million contract extension a year ago that included $50 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus with an average of $22 million annually, Tunsil's original $16.15 million base salary was converted into a $15.16 million signing bonus. He now has a $990,000 fully guaranteed base salary for 2021 and a salary cap figure of $9.29 million, down from $19.4 million.
Including the fifth-year club option of $10.85 million Tunsil was paid last year, the deal still has a total value of $76.35 million.
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.