Texans special teams captain Kevin Bentley had knee surgery on Wednesday morning. The 30-year-old linebacker has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Oakland but will return at some point this season.
"He came out of the (Dallas) game and was fine," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "His knee swelled up and we drained it. After we drained it, he came back the next morning and it swelled up again. We took him in and had a little issue that we had to take care of… He will be back. I can't give you a timetable on it right now."
With rookie linebacker Darryl Sharpton also missing Wednesday's practice with a knee injury, Kubiak said that second-year pro David Nixon needs to step up this week. Nixon has yet to play since being claimed off waivers from the Raiders on Sept. 5.
The Texans released rookie cornerback Jamar Wall and replaced him with Karl Paymah, who has more seasons of NFL experience (five) than the rest of the Texans' cornerbacks combined.
Paymah (6-0, 195) was a third-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2005 out of Washington State. Kubiak and Texans general manager Rick Smith were on the Broncos' staff in his rookie season.
"I think he'll be able to help us here, especially on special teams, right away," Kubiak said after Paymah's first practice on Wednesday. "It's good to have him out here."
In 72 career games with seven starts, Paymah has three interceptions and 54 special teams tackles. He spent the 2009 season with the Minnesota Vikings and was released by the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 3.
Staying retiredDefensive end Aaron Schobel worked out for the Texans on Monday but did not sign with the team. The Texans and Schobel, 33, had expressed mutual interest over the past two months.
"There's been a lot of dialogue, and it led up to a workout," Kubiak said. "Throughout the workout, I know that Rick (Smith) and (Schobel's) agent had some conversations. The bottom line, I think he's made the commitment to stay retired... I've got to trust Rick in what we're doing and how we're evaluating those guys, because my focus is on these 53 guys and getting ready to go play the next game."
Defensive ends Ryan Denney and Adewale Ogunleye, who both signed with the Texans two weeks ago, could help to spark the pass rush opposite Mario Williams. Ogunleye has 67 career sacks and might see his first action as a Texan on Sunday.
"He wasn't in the same condition Ryan was in when we first got him, but we think he's caught up," Kubiak said. "If he has a good week this week, you could very well see him."
Strong safety Bernard Pollard said that Dominique Barber will start at free safety for the Texans on Sunday. Regular starter Eugene Wilson missed Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury and is day-to-day.
"Dominique's going to be ready," Pollard said. "Dominique's exciting in centerfield. He really is. He plays at a high level. I'm excited to be next to him."
Pollard called Barber "a heated football player" and said he feeds off of the third-year pro's intensity.
"We're going to have a great time back there," he said. "We really are. It will be a difference this week. I promise you, it will be a difference."
Barber is listed as the backup strong safety on the depth chart, but he started four games at free safety last season.
"My dad (former Jets running back Marion Barber Jr.) always says, 'You can't be surprised; you've got to be ready,'" Barber said. "This is an opportunity for me, and I'm going to take it in full stride and go with it."
Quote of the day
"So many people are panicking – fans, some people. Don't panic. This was the third game of the season. If you expected us to go undefeated, that's fine. That's high on your standards. But we know and understand that this is the NFL. We're excited to play football, and we understand what it takes. We understand that we didn't play at a high level last week but we have to get better, and we will."
- SS Bernard Pollard