HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) — The Texans have a wide array of injuries across their roster following Saturday’s 16-9 win vs. the New Orleans Saints.
At most positions, the Texans’ vaunted depth is usually enough to withstand any temporary losses. But the kicking game doesn’t offer such strength in numbers.
That could be an issue for the coming week at Training Camp, as both Texans place-kickers could miss time with physical ailments.
“Nick Novak’s in the NFL Concussion Protocol,” Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said on Sunday. “He suffered a concussion at the end of the game last night on the last kickoff so he’s in that protocol and we’ll see how that goes day-to-day here.
“(Ka’imi) Fairbairn has a [quadriceps] injury. It’s not serious but it is a day-to-day deal that he’s going to be dealing with.”
The two kickers are in a tight competition for the lone place-kicking roster spot, though Novak, a nine-year NFL veteran, handled all field-goal duties in a 3-for-3 effort against the Saints.
Fairbairn, a rookie out of UCLA, has a stronger leg judging by their Training Camp performances. But a quad injury would be a serious setback and potentially affect his main advantage over Novak for the starting job.
The kicking situation may be temporarily dire, but the roster is littered with other injury issues. Rookie center Nick Martin is still nursing a high ankle sprain, and surgery is “a possibility,” per O’Brien.
O’Brien also addressed a recent report that star defensive end J.J. Watt could miss the first two games of the 2016 regular season.
“I would say knowing J.J. the way I do that he’ll be back sooner rather than later,” O’Brien said. “He’s progressing really well. He’s been able to do some things on the Alter-G Treadmill in there which is a really good sign, so as you guys would expect J.J. is really wanting to do a lot more.
“He’s doing a good job of following the doctor’s orders but we feel good about where’s he’s at right now relative to the beginning of the season.”
Derek Newton and Duane Brown, the starting tackles and anchors of the offensive line, are “progressing” yet unlikely to return to practice this week.
O’Brien did say running back Alfred Blue (shoulder) is expected to participate on Monday after missing the past week of Training Camp.