(SportsRadio 610) - With another divisional game coming up as the Texans prepare to travel to the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend, they could be getting a little healthier on both sides of the ball.
Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee) along with 10-year veteran safety Jimmie Ward (hip) were fully dressed and back on the practice field Wednesday morning for the Texans.
While the playing status of second-year safety Jalen Pitre (bruised lung) remains up in the air.
After a weird week leading into the Colts game, in which the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle went from limited due to a knee injury, to a full participant in workouts on Thursday, to out by Friday, Tunsil appeared to be moving around well.
He was observed working pass pro and run blocking drills as well as some sled work during the early portion of practice.
His return is to the lineup is key as they need some sort of stabilizing force on a front that had struggled both to protect their rookie quarterback and get any semblance of a run game going.
Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans wouldn’t yet say whether Tunsil would be ready for Sunday.
“He had an issue with a knee, he got it fixed, has been getting treatment around the clock and has been on it getting himself ready to go” Ryans said. “We’ll see how he feels as the week progresses.”
Stroud has been hit 19 times, including 11 sacks in the first two weeks while the Texans rank fourth worst in the run attack with just 124 yards on the ground, including a league-worst 2.5 yards per carry through two games.
Josh Jones was asked to play left tackle against the Colts, a week after playing left guard in the regular season opening loss to the Ravens. His status on the line after poor play his first two weeks is up in the air.
Kendrick Green started at left guard last week and Ryans wouldn’t comment on who would man the position this week if Tunsil is able to play against the Jaguars on Sunday.
Tunsil’s return could at least provide a little more stability to an offensive line that is still down two other starters in rookie center Juice Scruggs and veteran right tackle Tytus Howard, both of which can’t return until week five at the earliest.
Jimmie Ward, who has yet to make his regular season debut for the Texans, has missed the first two weeks with a hip injury that he suffered during the preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints.
Ward’s return is much needed and according to Ryans on Wednesday, the plan is for him to play safety on Sunday.
With nickel corner Tavierre Thomas out with a broken hand, there was a thought Ward could be asked to play the position, but Ryans said Grayland Arnold has done enough to show them he can do the job.
“He’s earned the right to get reps,” Ryans said. “Grayland has been with us from the start, every day. Grayland is a hard worker. He’s there, he’s dialed in to what we’re asking him to do. He flies around, plays physical so I know Grayland will do well with the role.”
Eric Murray, who suffered a concussion against the Colts on Sunday, was back on the practice field Wednesday. DeAndre Houston-Carson, who the Texans brought in last week and stepped up for Murray, wound up playing in 52% of the defensive snaps as well as contributing on special teams.
Jalen Pitre was not at practice Wednesday, at least during the portion that was open to the media. He remains out with a bruised lung and when exactly he’ll make his return is to the lineup remains in question.
“I’m encouraged with Jalen, feeling really good,” Ryans said. “Jalen is in good spirits. It’s great having him, great energy in the meetings and in practice. Jalen has been a great leader for us even though he hasn’t been out there for us physically on game day, but he’s been leading forums throughout the week.
“I’m encouraged with him and encouraged with his process and on his way back and I think he’ll be good to go here pretty soon."