Sources: Texans nickel Tavierre Thomas broke hand, had successful surgery

Nickel back injured

Houston Texans cornerback Tavierre Thomas (4) gets in position during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams) (Terrance Williams, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Texans nickel back Tavierre Thomas suffered a broken bone in his hand against the Indianapolis Colts underwent a successful surgery Tuesday morning, according to league sources.

Thomas wasn’t immediately placed on injured reserve and could potentially return in the next few weeks, per sources.

Thomas broke a bone near his middle finger. He played through the injury on Sunday with a soft cast on his hand, finishing the game.

Thomas’ injury is the latest setback for a secondary that also lost safety Eric Murray to a concussion on Sunday and was already playing without starting safeties Jalen Pitre (bruised lung) and Jimmie Ward (hip).

With Thomas likely out against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans’ primary options at nickel include safety-nickel Grayland Arnold. Ward is the most experienced nickel, but is coming off an injury.

Thomas forced Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson to fumble in the season opener. He has 14 tackles this season and has drawn praise from the coaching staff.

During another play against the Ravens, Thomas popped rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers for a tackle for a loss. He finished his first game as the replacement for his friend, Desmond King, who was a surprise cut during the roster cutdown, with eight tackles. He had a 90.5 Pro Football Focus analytics grade.

“Tavierre did a good job for us,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said after the first game. “He plays the style of football I love to see. He plays with his hair on fire. He’s fast, he’s physical out there. He did a really good job of forcing fumbles, so that’s what we want to see. T.T. plays the style of ball that I like to see.”

Thomas allowed three receptions on three targets for nine yards. He had no missed tackles. He played 25 snaps in coverage, 14 snaps in run defense and one pass rush snap.

A former undrafted free agent from Ferris State who previously played for the Cleveland Browns, Thomas was re-signed this offseason to a one-year, $3 million deal that included $500,000 signing bonus and a $1.5 million base salary that’s fully guaranteed, a $250,000 per game active roster bonus and a $750,000 playtime incentive for defensive snaps.

Two seasons ago for the Texans playing for former coach Lovie Smith, Thomas recorded a career-high 86 tackles and had two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I’m going to go out there to make plays and show I’m one of the best nickels in the NFL in the NFL,” Thomas said before the Ravens game. “I feel like we’re going to be real good. The secondary as a whole, I think we’re going to shock a lot of people.”

Thomas has 188 career tackles, two interceptions, one sack, two fumble recoveries and five tackles for losses.

Due to a quadriceps injury, Thomas was limited to 10 games and six starts last season. He still recorded 41 tackles, one for a loss and one pass defensed.

Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and

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