Thursday games always present a challenge due to the tight turnaround from the previous week, and perhaps there is no better evidence than this week's injury situation for the Houston Texans. The Texans have five players who suffered concussions in Week 1, none of whom will be available for tonight's contest. Linebacker Brian Cushing is one of the five who suffered a concussion; he would not, of course, be eligible to play anyway given his 10-game suspension after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Add to the Texans' concussion list wide receiver Bruce Ellington and three of their tight ends (C.J. Fiedorowicz, now on injured reserve, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Griffin) and this has been a tough injury week for the Texans. Even defensive end J.J. Watt appeared on this week's injury report, held to a limited practice Tuesday because of a finger injury. During the game, Watt suffered an open dislocation which he aptly described to reporters as having "busted the bone through the skin." Ouch. Watt returned to last Sunday's game after the injury and he will play Thursday night.
Other injury notes for the Texans as relates to fantasy-relevant players include a group of three who are off the pregame injury report heading into Thursday night. It should be noted the Texans conducted walk-throughs Monday and Wednesday, so practice reports are estimations. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (wrist) was listed as a full participant daily and his status was never in doubt. Both quarterbacks are on the list; Tom Savage has a finger injury on his left hand and Deshaun Watson is recovering from an ankle sprain. Both were listed as full participants on the practice report. The expectation is that Watson will get the start, although the team has yet to make an official announcement. Two players who were out last week remain out: Running back Alfred Blue is still recovering from a high ankle sprain and wide receiver Will Fuller remains on the mend from a broken collarbone.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, there is interest in the status of wide receiver John Ross, the promising rookie speedster selected ninth overall in this year's NFL draft. Ross, who spent much of the offseason working his way back from shoulder surgery, suffered what the team called a sprained left knee in the preseason finale. He did not return to practice until late last week and then it was only on a limited basis. Ross was listed as questionable for Week 1 but, as expected, did not play. He has been upgraded this week to a full participant in practice daily, but it should be noted that these are light practices in a short week. Ross comes into Thursday night's game listed as questionable, leaving the possibility that he could make his NFL regular-season debut tonight. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson and first reported by the NFL Network, Ross is indeed likely to take the field against the Texans. It's anyone's guess just how much action the rookie will see in his first appearance, but the Bengals have been cautious with him to date. Fantasy owners should temper their expectations this week.