Texans’ C.J. Stroud To Return In Week 17

3:19pm: Stroud will be back under center after two missed games. Following his return to practice, Stroud has cleared concussion protocol. The Texans removed the rookie standout from their injury report, putting him on track to return to action in Week 17.

11:12am: Continuing to make progress in his recovery from a concussion, C.J. Stroud has taken another important step forward. The Texans quarterback has resumed practicing, an encouraging sign for his Week 17 availability.

As detailed by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, Stroud is now in the fourth of five stages in the league’s concussion protocol. As a result, he remains on track to receive clearance in time for Houston’s New Year’s Eve game against the Titans. That is the expected return date for the Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and such a development would do wonders for the Texans’ playoff push.

Stroud has missed the past two games, and Houston surprisingly turned to Case Keenum in his place. The latter helped lead the team to an overtime victory in his 2023 debut, but he struggled last week against the Browns. Keenum was benched mid-game in favor of Davis Mills, who has spent much of the year as Stroud’s backup. Having their starter back in the lineup would give a critical boost to the Texans’ offense, a unit which has generally impressed in 2023.

The No. 2 pick has posted 3,631 passing yards while posting a 20:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his rookie year. Stroud has added 143 yards and another three scores on the ground, part of his overall ability to guide a transitioning Texans team toward an unexpected playoff berth. Sitting at 8-7, Houston still has a chance to win the AFC South or secure a wild-card spot.

Having a healthy Stroud in place would be a signficant development considering the number of backup quarterbacks in place throughout the AFC playoff picture. The Ohio State product still has work to do to clear the final stage of the protocol, so his continued improvement over the coming days will be a story to follow closely. As was the case over the weekend, though, signs point to a crucial late-season return.

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