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Texans Noncommittal On Laremy Tunsil Return

Pro Bowl tackle has been out since thumb surgery in October

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans coach David Culley was noncommittal Monday on whether Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will return from injured reserve this week.

Tunsil underwent successful thumb surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in October. Tunsil is out of the cast, able to attend practices without participating and has made steady progress in his recovery.

Culley said Monday that Tunsil is ahead of center Justin Britt, who is on injured reserve with a hyperextended and bruised knee.

"We'll see how it is," Culley said. "They're in rehab right now. I know Justin is a probably a little bit further away than Laremy is as far as coming back, but I'll know more later in the week about where Laremy is."

Culley added that practice squad offensive guard Lane Taylor is healthy, but made no indication that he would be promoted to the active roster this week.

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Without Tunsil, Britt and Marcus Cannon, the Texans have started Geron Christian Sr. at left tackle, Tytus Howard at left guard, rookie Jimmy Morrissey at center, Justin McCray over Max Scharping at right guard, and Charlie Heck at right tackle.

The Texas are a league-worst 1-8, having dropped their last eight games. Houston, coming off a 17-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins, is at the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans (8-2) on Sunday. 

One of the top blockers in the NFL, Tunsil was initially going to attempt to play through the injury and forego surgery until after the season, but it was determined that the best course of action was to immediately have surgery.

Tunsil left during a 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots in the first half.

One year after signing Tunsil to a three-year, $66 million contract extension that included $50 million guaranteed with a $13 million signing bonus, the Texans restructured that deal this offseason to create $10.106 million in salary cap space.