Serious injuries to important players have derailed the past two Super Bowl campaigns for the Houston Texans. In 2011, Matt Schaub suffered a Lisfranc injury in what could have been the biggest season of his career, and last season the Texans lost Brian Cushing. The Texans are once again projected as a contender for the Super Bowl, and it looks like they’re getting all of their injuries out of the way in the preseason this year. That being said, who can we count on to return from injury and play in the 2013 regular season?
Arian Foster has missed several games over the course of his NFL career, but has still proven to be one of the most durable running backs in the league with over 1,000 touches in the past three seasons. But this offseason it looks like that extensive use might be catching up to him. He was placed on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list on July 25 due to a nagging calf injury, and though he has recovered from that injury he remains on that list due to back soreness. He received injections to help out with the soreness, and this caused some pain in Foster’s legs. He was originally projected to return to practice on Monday, but couldn’t return just yet.
Foster is a tough dude, and should be able to bounce back from these injuries before the season opener against the San Diego Chargers. “(Monday) was my date and that one didn’t work,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “So we’ll just have some patience here.”
Whitney Mercilus is entering his second year with the Texans, and so far it’s not off to the best start for the Illinois alum who had six sacks in his rookie season. He’s the projected starter on the weak side, but he’s been sidelined for a while with a strained hamstring. He’s missed the first two preseason games and a lot of valuable practice time. Coach Kubiak is a little more concerned about Mercilus’ prognosis.
“We’re concerned because we thought he would definitely be back today,” Kubiak said. “We were working all along toward New Orleans (Sunday). That doesn’t mean we’re still not going to get there. It’s only Monday. We start our week on Wednesday, but Whitney’s a very young player. He needs to play.”
As I indicated in my previous article, hamstring strains don’t take that long to recover from. If no more strain is put on the hamstring, the maximum amount of time he’ll have to miss is another four or five weeks. That would put him back in the lineup for the first home game, September 15 against the Tennessee Titans.
Ed Reed was signed by Houston in the offseason, but had surgery to repair a partly torn labrum on April 30 and then was placed on the PUP list. Reed has complained about constant “tightness and soreness” in his hip, and says that he’ll know more about when he can play when he can work past that.
“I’m opening the hip up and stuff like that, but at some point it kind of grabs,” Reed said. “So I’ve just got to get that scar tissue out and that edema out and everything. Once that subsides, I can have a better timeline.”
Reed is a Hall-of-Fame player, and has worked through a previous labrum tear on his other hip in 2010. It now looks like he won’t be back for the season opener, but the 34-year-old safety will definitely play this season.
DeVier Posey suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the Texans’ playoff loss to the New England Patriots, and had surgery in February to repair it. He returned from the PUP list on Monday, and participated in practice.
Posey is in just his second year in the NFL, and ran every route with the other receivers on Monday. His recovery time (7 months) is just short of miraculous, as the league average is 11 months.
DeAndre Hopkins got a concussion in the second preseason game, and missed practice on Monday. He’s currently going through the NFL’s concussion protocol that includes a variety of tests. Once he’s cleared, he’ll return to the field.
Hopkins should be ok. He’s not on the injured reserve or PUP list, but is just going through mandatory screenings and tests. He’ll be back before the opener.