HOUSTON – Jalen Pitre was back with his teammates Wednesday, watching practice and hanging out in the locker room afterward.
For the Texans’ safety, it was a positive day as he continues to make strides in his recovery from a scary medical ordeal: a bruised lung suffered Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens that left him coughing up blood and hospitalized overnight at Maryland Shock Trauma Hospital.
Pitre was with his parents and trainers overnight, returning to Houston on Monday. While he hasn’t returned to practice and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to resume practicing with backups M.J. Stewart and Eric Murray preparing to start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts with Pitre and Jimmie Ward sidelined Wednesday, Pitre’s presence is an encouraging development.
“Jalen is in good spirits,,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “He’s fine. He’s back with us, so we’re happy to have him back. Great to see him back in the building, just seeing him with a smile on his face, I think that just brightens everyone’s day. It’s good to see him back in the building and he’ll still be day-to-day. We’ll see where he ends up.”
The Stafford graduate took a left knee to the chest late in the first half from star quarterback Lamar Jackson while he was hitting him on a blitz. He was examined in the blue medical tent before going to the locker room for further testing. He was then ruled out for the second half and went to the hospital at halftime before remaining overnight as a precautionary measure.
As a rookie, Pitre, a former Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and second-round draft pick from Baylor, led the Texans with 147 tackles and five interceptions.
Pitre recorded the most tackles among all NFL rookies and became the first player to record more than 125 tackles and intercept five passes since the tackle statistic began being tracked in 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He played 93 percent of the Texans’ total defensive snaps, rarely leaving the field.
“It’s a long season,” Murray said. “We put a lot of emphasis on the first game, but just got to learn from it and grow from it. It’s always been like that. We help each other. We know the work we put in.
“Whoever’s opportunity it is, just steps in. We did some good things on defense. Until the half, it was a pretty tight game. Got to keep building, don’t want to have that sentiment every game like last year.”
Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and click2houston.com.