Texans' backfield woes continue as RB Brown lands on IR

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans placed running back Chris Brown on injured reserve Saturday, continuing a string of recent disappointments at the position.

Brown, a free agent who signed in March, has struggled with back problems since the beginning of training camp. He was signed to back up Ahman Green, but was never able to make a contribution after suffering back cramps on his first day of camp.

The Texans made most of their roster moves on Friday, but wanted more time to evaluate Brown's health before ending his season Saturday. This isn't the first time Brown has struggled with injuries. He's sat out 15 games in the last two seasons with various ailments.

Houston's problems at the position began two years ago when Domanick Davis was placed on injured reserve just before the season opener. They signed Green to take over last year, but he missed 10 games with knee swelling.

Only three running backs remain on Houston's roster. The Texans have Chris Taylor, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and rookie Steve Slaton. Slaton has struggled with turf toe, but should be ready for the regular season.

Green missed significant time this preseason with a groin injury, but has returned to practice and is expected to start in the opener at Pittsburgh. Houston might resort to a running back by committee approach until Green gets in game shape.

"I think we very well could because you have to remember that Ahman hasn't played a lot," coach Gary Kubiak said. "To all of a sudden go out there and start and think he is going to carry the ball 25 times this weekend, I think would be a mistake."

Green knows he hasn't built up the endurance necessary to carry the entire rushing load for Houston this week, but he's confident his teammates can pick up the slack.

"I'm not worried about not having enough energy, because them guys, when they go out there on that field, I'll be resting up and cheering them on and vice versa," he said. "It's going to be a good effort. It's going to have to be a whole team out there."

Houston drafted Slaton to be a third-down or change-of-pace back, but the injury situation could force him into a different role.

"He better be ready to go a bunch," Kubiak said. "We are really counting on him and we just wanted to make sure we got him good and rested with the turf toe so it wasn't a problem."