Texans outside linebacker Brooks Reed seems likely to play in Saturday's Wild Card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but coach Gary Kubiak was not ready to declare it a certainty on Monday.
Reed was inactive against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday because of a groin injury. He played the first half of the previous game against Minnesota after sitting out from Weeks 13-15. Kubiak said the Texans had hoped Reed would be able to play 20-25 snaps against the Colts but that he was feeling sore leading up to the game and they erred on the side of caution.
"I think it'll be touch-and-go," Kubiak said Monday afternoon of Reed's availability for Saturday. "I can say this: If he can walk, he's going to play. He wants to play. We had a decision to make yesterday which was very important to him playing some more football this year, and we think we made the right one."
Reed had 3.5 sacks in the playoffs last season, tying J.J. Watt and two other players for the NFL postseason lead. A 2011 second-round draft pick from Arizona, he has 2.5 sacks this season in 12 starts at strongside linebacker. He four tackles in the first half against the Vikings in Week 16, including two tackles for loss.
Texans inside linebackers Darryl Sharpton (hip) and Tim Dobbins (undisclosed) were injured in Sunday's loss at Indianapolis. Kubiak said after the game that he was "very concerned" about both players, but he did not have much of an update on either on Monday.
"I don't have an answer for you right now," Kubiak said. "It's a very quick week, so we'll see where we're at tomorrow when we get going again. They're the two guys we're concerned about right now."
Sharpton has started four of the last five games at inside linebacker on the weakside next to Mike linebacker Bradie James. Dobbins, a special teams captain, has started six games this season. If Sharpton and Dobbins are unable to play against the Bengals, eighth-year veteran Barrett Ruud would likely start. Outside linebacker Jesse Nading also can play inside.
The Texans' other biggest health question mark is cornerback Alan Ball, who has been out since Week 13 with a foot injury. Kubiak did not bring up Ball on Monday but said last week that he expected Ball, the Texans' third cornerback and a special teams standout, to be able to return in the playoffs.