As the Houston Texans prepare for their Thanksgiving Day debut on a short week, injuries are playing a key role. Without the normal full week between games, players have less time to recuperate from the previous contest and players already injured have less time to recover. Heading into Thursday’s game with the Detroit Lions, the Texans have several important players who are in danger of missing the nationally televised game.
The most notable player with an injury is CB Johnathan Joseph, who suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joseph’s availability is critical because he will likely draw the duty of covering Lions WR Calvin Johnson. The Texans are likely to double team Johnson as is, but if Joseph can’t go, the defense will have to pay even more attention to Johnson, which could leave them vulnerable in other parts of the field.
Joseph did not practice on Tuesday, the only real day of practice this week for the Texans. RB Ben Tate (hamstring), WR DeVier Posey (knee/hamstring), and ILB Tim Dobbins (shoulder) also did not participate in practice and are listed as game-time decisions.
The other Texans injuries heading into Thanksgiving include QB T.J. Yates (elbow), WR Lestar Jean (knee), TE Owen Daniels (back), LG Wade Smith (knee/ribs), C Chris Myers (back), DE Antonio Smith (ankle), DE Jared Crick (neck), NT Shaun Cody (back/ribs), ILB Bradie James (thumb), ILB Darryl Sharpton (knee/neck/hip), OLB Jesse Nading (foot), CB Brice McCain (knee), and SS Quintin Demps (toe). All these players practiced Tuesday and with the exception of Cody, who is a game-time decision as well, the rest appear to be ready for Thursday.
Across the ball, the Lions are equally banged up. Several key players, such as WR Calvin Johnson (knee), OT Jeff Backus (hamstring), CB Drayton Florence (concussion), and CB Chris Houston (ankle) are all battling through injuries. Lastly, WR Titus Young has been ruled out of Thursday’s game, not because of injury but because the Lions have decided to bench him one week for “unacceptable conduct” during Sunday’s loss to the Packers.
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