The Texans sustained two huge blows to their offensive line on Thursday.
Second-round pick and projected starting center Nick Martin is expected to miss the entire season due to an ankle injury that requires surgery, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
The 23-year-old drew comparisons to his brother, Cowboys guard Zack, and was a favorite of head coach Bill O'Brien's heading into the regular season. Martin sustained the injury a week ago during a practice against the New Orleans Saints.
While we can overrate the quarterback-center relationship at times, we can't imagine Brock Osweiler is excited about losing Martin. Just like he'll need to put in extra hours with Braxton Miller, Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins, he'll need to learn the ins and outs of veteran Tony Bergstrom, or whoever ends up securing the job long-term.
The hits kept coming on Houston's O-line as Rapoport later reported that offensive tackle Duane Brown is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. The eight-year veteran started training camp on the PUP list while recovering from a torn quad suffered in the 2015 season finale. Without Brown in the lineup, it's likely that the Texans will start the 2016 campaign with just two of last season's starters on offense.
The Texans have made heavy investments in their offensive line over the past few seasons but, unfortunately, haven't had the health and proper circumstances to see them pan out. Former second-round pick Xavier Su'a-Filo (2014) is just now coming into his own. We'll have to wait another year to see what Martin can truly become.
Here are the other injuries we are monitoring Thursday:
1. Believe it or not, there was some good news out of Houston on the injury front. J.J. Watt, who has sat out most of training camp recovering from a herniated disc, is nearing his return. Rapoport reported that the lauded defensive end is expected to practice next week, per a source.
2. Indianapolis will be short a few cornerbacks this weekend. Colts coach Chuck Pagano announced that D'Joun Smith (ankle) and Jalil Brown (knee) will not play Saturday night against the Eagles. Tackle Joe Reitz is questionable to play with a back injury.
3. Cardinals wide receiver John Brown returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a headache; Brown had previously been sidelined with a concussion. On the other hand, Brown's partner-in-crime Larry Fitzgerald sat out practice again while he nurses a knee injury. When asked if the veteran wideout will miss Arizona's game against the Texans, coach Bruce Arians said, "We'll see."
5. Jets coach Todd Bowles announced that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will not play Saturday against the Giants. Enunwa has been in concussion protocol since leaving last week's loss to the Redskins early with a concussion.