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Texans vs. Saints: Garret Wallow Joins Derek Stingley Jr. as OUT For Preseason Opener

Texans fans will have to wait another week to see second-year linebacker Garret Wallow

HOUSTON -- As the Houston Texans prepare to kick off against the New Orleans Saints at NRG Stadium, several players expected to be a factor during the regular season will be sidelined. 

The Texans did not announce inactives, but did officially rule out rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. prior to Saturday. Others not expected to play include running back Rex Burkhead, receiver Brandin Cooks and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. 

According to Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson, Kenyon Green (knee), Garret Wallow (ankle), Christian Harris (hamstring) and Antony Auclair (sprained knee) have been ruled out. All four players have not practiced since Tuesday due to injury.

Texans coach Lovie Smith said second-year quarterback Davis Mills will play "a few snaps.'' The "few" could be determined as a drive or two or perhaps even an entire quarter.

Smith said several players would have a "pitch count,'' and Mills is one of them. Last season, the third-round pick started 11 games, going 2-9 as a starter, but showing promise late in the season with nine touchdowns against two interceptions.

Mills' 2,664 passing ranked second among all rookie quarterbacks in 2022, trailing only the New England Patriots' Mac Jones. During his five-game stretch at the season's end, Mills led all rookies with a 104 passer rating. 

So far in practice, he's looked the part of a capable starter, but there have been questions about his ability to throw deep due to the lack of vertical plays called by new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

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Houston will be limited at quarterback for Saturday's action as Smith ruled out backup Kyle Allen after testing positive for COVID-19. Currently, the Texans only carry three quarterbacks on the roster, meaning third-stringer Jeff Driskel is expected to see his rep count expand.

Smith officially ruled out Stingley on Thursday. Stingley, the No. 3 overall pick in April's draft, has come on strong since the start of training camp, but the team isn't willing to risk a setback toward his recovery for a preseason game.

Stingley suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his foot during his final season at LSU that required surgery. He was limited to three games in 2021 but has been a full participant in practice since late last week.

"Whenever a player is coming out with a major injury, this ramp-up period, that's what it's for," Smith said of Stingley's progress. "We're going to ease him into it. He's healthy, seeing him run around. He's on schedule."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 

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