HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) — The Texans have been waiting for their offensive line to get healthy, and the first piece of that puzzle may finally be fitting back in this week.
Head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday at his weekly press conference that injured right tackle Derek Newton (hamstring) should return to full practice participation before Thursday’s preseason finale versus Dallas.
“I think he’s made a lot of progress,” O’Brien said. “I think he’ll be able to move around this week. Whether we play him against Dallas, that’s to be determined, but I do think he can do some things back out on the practice field this week.”
Newton injured the hamstring during the team’s first Training Camp practice on July 31 and has not practiced since.
The sixth-year veteran has started 54 consecutive games (incl. playoffs) along the offensive line for Houston, dating back to Dec. 2012.
O’Brien responded with a resolute, “Yes, absolutely” about Newton’s status for the season opener against Chicago on Sept. 11 if Newton played in the Cowboys preseason contest.
It would be a giant step forward for a patchwork Texans line, which is also missing longest-tenured Texan Duane Brown at left tackle and expected starter Nick Martin at center.
O’Brien also said the team would slowly incorporate Brown back into the fold once he’s fully recovered from a quad injury.
“You can’t just put him right back in there to play 75 snaps a game, so we’ll have to look at that from a conditioning standpoint,” O’Brien said. “Duane’s working hard to get back in there, and whenever he’s ready to go, we’ll get him in there.”