HOUSTON – Texans safety Jalen Pitre returns to practice week after recovering from a bruised lung that sidelined him for the past two games, according to league sources.
The team captain is slated to return to practice to prepare for a potential return to the lineup for a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pitre is a team captain who led the Texans with 147 tackles and five interceptions as a rookie last season. The Texans exercised caution with the Stafford graduate, a second-round draft pick and former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year at Baylor.
“Yeah, encouraging with Jalen, feeling really good,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “Jalen is in good spirits. It’s great having him out. It’s great energy in the meetings and practice. Jalen has been a great leader for us, even though he hasn’t been out there physically on gameday, but he’s been leading throughout the week.
“That’s why Jalen is a special young man, and I’m happy to coach him because he brings everything that you want from a leader to the team. So, encouraged with him and encouraged with his process and on his way back. I think he will be good to go here pretty soon.”
Pitre was among four starters ruled out for this past game Sunday, including linebacker Denzel Perryman. Perryman is dealing with hand and wrist injuries and isn’t practicing. There is a good chance he could play in the next week or so with a cast on his hand.
Texans nickel Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss another game due to a broken hand that required surgery, per a league source. He was replaced against the Jacksonville Jaguars by Grayland Arnold at nickel with Alex Austin practicing at nickel, too.
Ryans attributed the extremely high amount of injuries to the normal rigors of the game.
The Texans have placed wide receiver Noah Brown (groin), cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (hamstring), offensive guard Kenyon Green (torn labrum), fullback Troy Hairston (back), offensive tackle Tytus Howard (hand surgery), punter Cameron Johnston (groin), wide receiver Jesse Matthews (torn anterior cruciate ligament), center Scott Quessenberry (torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments), defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (calf), offensive tackle D.J. Scaife (knee), center Juice Scruggs (hamstring) and offensive tackle Kilian Zierer (ankle) on injured reserve.
“Playing football for a long time, coaching for a while, there are a lot of things that happen on the field that you just can’t control, and that’s the nature of the game that we play football,” Ryans said. So, to try to pinpoint not getting us injured, that’s hard to do. You can’t justify how things happen. It’s football. Guys are making violent cuts, moving, reacting every play, so you can’t determine movements, that’s the name of our game: unpredicted movements.
“So, guys are stronger, faster now, and guys unfortunately get hurt, and that’s not new to the NFL. It’s happened since the game began. It’s a physical game, it’s a violent game, and it’s unfortunate that guys get injured at times. If we could control injuries, I promise you all across the NFL, there would not be an injury if anyone’s controlling it, but as you see, all over the NFL, it happens. And the main thing is, everybody needs to focus on that person and what they’re going through with those injuries. How hard is it on that guy?”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.