Multiple starters on both sides of the ball are close to returning for the Houston Texans in Week 11.
The bye week worked wonders for the Houston Texans as several players that would not have played last week are able to return as early as this game against the Washington Redskins. Starting cornerback Jonathan Joseph and inside linebacker Zach Cunningham were both injured in the contest against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Cunningham has been sidelined with a knee injury that was later reported to be a sprained MCL injury by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Cunningham returning back to practice is a step in the right direction as one of the starting inside linebackers. He leads the team in tackles with 63 combined tackles. It is still up in the air whether Cunningham will able to play in Week 11 after being limited in practice this week.
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Meanwhile, Joseph is a player that is expected to make the travel with the team to Washington, DC and possibly play. Joseph missed the last game against the Denver Broncos, but the Texans have proven to be a better team with the veteran defending the best receiver on the opposing team’s offense. Joseph has been also been limited to a sprained knee and ankle injury, but head coach Bill O’Brien expects him to be ready to go by game time.
The Texans starting slot cornerback, Aaron Colvin, has missed the entirety of the team’s win streak, but Colvin has returned to practice this week on a limited basis. Being a sure tackler and good player in coverage are both qualities that the Texans can’t have enough of as they make their run to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Having both players practicing again is a good sign for the Texans’ secondary moving forward.
Rotational defensive back Andre Hal and outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor have been limited in practice with shoulder injuries, but they have a shot to make the travel with the team since they had an additional week to rehabilitate their injury. Starting outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus was added to Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury. Outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett could see some snaps in the defense with Mercilus and Ejiofor both dealing with their respective injuries.
Special teams contributor and inside linebacker, Brian Peters, has been listed on the injury report with an ankle injury, but he has been a full participant at practice and is expected to be ready to play if needed. DeAndre Hopkins has remained on the injury report with a foot injury but he has been good to go for gamedays and has put on a show for fans and players alike. Rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee could have an opportunity to return to the fold after missing the last few games with a hamstring injury.
The bye week has helped the Texans have players on both sides of the ball have a shot to return this Sunday as they travel to FedExField to face the Washington Redskins, who are the leaders in the NFC East.