As if fans of the Houston Texans weren’t already on edge with yet another injury to star wide receiver Andre Johnson, left tackle Duane Brown went down with a left ankle injury Wednesday morning, furthering the unrest among Texan Nation. Brown was taken to the hospital for x-rays, which came back negative on any major damage. Brown suffered nothing more than a bad bruise after being rolled up on by running back Arian Foster. There was no definitive timetable on Brown’s return, but the man himself claimed, “I don’t expect to be out too long. I’ll be out there soon.”
Brown’s quick scare was just another in what’s becoming another long line of minor to key Texan contributors. Aside from Brown and Johnson, starting CB Kareem Jackson hasn’t been practicing, and ILB Darryl Sharpton, who figured to compete for a starting job, had a setback in his rehab with a hip injury.
A second team All-Pro in 2011, Brown plays the most important position along the offensive line and is perhaps the most valuable member of the NFL’s best O-line unit. Now that it’s known Brown will be okay, his injury actually presents the Texans with an interesting opportunity to figure out what they have at right tackle. While Brown is out, RT Rashad Butler will fill in at LT like he did when Brown served a four-game suspension in 2010 for performance enhancing drugs. While Butler fills in and takes all the reps at LT, Derek Newton will now take all the snaps at RT, giving both men more playing time in practice, which in turn provides the coaches with more to evaluate them from. Both are competing for the starting RT tackle job, so the added practice reps gives them greater opportunity to improve and impress.
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