The Texans' biggest injury concern heading into their bye week is running back Ben Tate, who may not be available in Week 9 because of a minor hamstring injury. Their biggest question mark is inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton, who is still on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with a quadriceps injury.
Tate was injured on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that if the Texans had a game in Week 8, Tate probably wouldn't be able to play. Fortunately, the Texans don't have a game in Week 8.
"Ben does have a hamstring pull, a slight pull," Kubiak said. "There is some time there, but he's the biggest concern of the three (injured Texans players) right now."
The other two players injured against Baltimore are nose tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle) and outside linebacker Bryan Braman (stinger). Kubiak said he expects Mitchell to be fine by next Wednesday. Braman has been cleared and practiced on Tuesday.
Tate sat out in Week 4 with a toe injury and was limited in Week 5. Kubiak said he's "a little concerned" about Tate's availability for Houston's game against Buffalo after the bye week, partially because Tate has had other hamstring issues during his three seasons with the Texans. Justin Forsett, the Texans' third running back, has averaged 5.2 yards per carry on 23 attempts this season.
"I have a lot of confidence in my other guy (Forsett)," Kubiak said. "He's a good player. He's done a good job, so if Ben can't go, Justin will play well."
Sharpton, who tore his right quadriceps last season in Week 8, was eligible to return to practice last week. The Texans feel like he's close. Last week, Kubiak said Sharpton has been working with trainers on a side field during practice and running "very, very well."
Sharpton has until Nov. 7 to start practicing. From the day he starts practicing, the Texans have three more weeks to activate Sharpton from the PUP list. That means the latest he could be back on the active roster is the week leading up to the Texans' Week 13 game at Tennessee.
If either deadline passes, Sharpton would not be able to play this season and would remain on the PUP list.