On Sunday, the Texans placed wide receiver Harry Williams on injured reserve and signed fullback Jon Abbate.
Ferguson talks about hit to Williams: When Nick Ferguson dove after Dallas kickoff returner Isaiah Stanback, the Texans safety had no idea that he had collided with teammate Harry Williams on the play. It wasn't until Ferguson saw the replay that he realized his hit had rendered Williams paralyzed on the field.
"My sternum was bothering me, and when I looked at the JumboTron, that's when I realized it was Harry that I collided with," Ferguson said. "It's a difficult situation to be in, and then to know that you were the other guy who ran into your teammate and put him in that difficult situation."
Williams was stabilized on a stretcher, carted off the field and taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where he received surgery on Sunday to fuse together the C3 vertebra that he had fractured. The procedure was performed by Dr. Drew Dossett, a member of the Cowboys' medical staff.
Williams was able to move his arms and legs before the surgery, and initial reports indicate that the receiver should regain full neurological function. But it has been unclear as to whether Williams will be able to play football again.
"That's one of the mixed things that were coming out," Ferguson said. "Some people said that they were not sure, and now some people are saying that he might not ever play again. I think somewhat right now he's coming to grips with that situation, but the big thing is that he is happy that he'll be able to walk. That's the most important thing."
Ferguson called Williams Saturday night to deliver words of encouragement and was impressed by the receiver's high spirits.
"He said the one thing he wanted to do was to make sure the guys knew that this season was really important to him and that we go out there and handle our business," Ferguson said. "He didn't want me to feel bad about what happened because I was feeling really bad knowing that I couldn't avoid the situation."
Ferguson is entering his 10th year in the league and he has seen devastating injuries like this before, but this experience has changed the veteran's outlook on the game.
"It puts a lot of things in perspective to make you realize how much of an aggressive sport this is and at any point in time, you could be that individual person," Ferguson said. "You have to try to go into each game thinking, 'You know what? I'm going to put that aside.' If you think about getting hurt, then that's how things happen. You have to cut it loose and let the chips fall where they may, and hopefully God is looking out for you."
Texans need to see more from Adibi: It's been hard for the Texans to evaluate rookie Xavier Adibi because the linebacker has been forced to limit his practice and game reps due to hamstring and Achilles issues. That's why coaches are antsy about seeing as much as they can from Adibi in the final preseason game on Thursday.
"You have to practice and you have to play to be able to be evaluated, which I haven't seen that much," defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "He's a smart kid. He does have athletic ability. I'm praying to God that he can play this week so we'll get a good opportunity to evaluate him.
"If not, then this organization has to make a decision based on what we saw of him in college. I know he can run and I know he has good feet, he's got good instincts. How does he play the game at this level? I haven't seen yet. I'm hoping he can play this week."
Adibi led Virginia Tech with a career-high 115 tackles last season, and the Texans drafted him in the fourth round because he had good athletic ability and smooth feet. They would like to see Adibi, at 6-2, 224 pounds, add bulk, much like second-year pro Zac Diles did last year.
"You have to get bigger and stronger," Smith said. "But let's go back. You look at Zac Diles a year ago for this time. Who is Zac Diles? Nobody knew who he was. We liked something about him, and he was able to continue to develop and get stronger. And you look at him right now, he's one of your starting linebackers.
"I'm hoping the same thing: If Adibi does make this football team, that he can make the same amount of progress that Zac Diles did."
Running back roundup: Ahman Green (groin) worked out on Sunday in the team's conditioning-focused practice. Green still is expected to be healthy for the regular sason, but both he and Chris Brown (back) are almost certain to miss the last preseason game on Thursday against Tampa Bay.
"Well, you've got to be patient in this business," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "Guys get hurt, and there's nothing you can do about it. The key is that you expect them back, and I would say right now there's no doubt we expect Ahman back here pretty quickly. As far as Chris, I think it's a day-to-day situation. Today's not a good day."
Rookie Steve Slaton was bothered by turf toe after Friday's game and rode an exercise bike during practice, but he doesn't anticipate missing much time on the field. The coaches probably will rotate Slaton and Chris Taylor as the starting backs against the Bucs and then work in Darius Walker and Marcel Shipp.
Jacoby not letting go: Receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones is under strict orders from special teams coordinator Joe Marciano to carry a football 24/7 in an effort to minimize his fumbles.
"I'm trying to get better and not fumble, so I'm going to walk around with this (football) all day," Jones said. "Like, if you've ever seen the movie 'The Program.' I have to keep these guys from touching my friend right here."
Jones, who fumbled in each of the first two preseason games, is so committed to the assignment that he is thinking about showering with the ball.
"I might need to wash it," Jones said. "It's been under my arm, so it might get a little musty."