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Texans' QB Stroud (concussion) to start Sunday against Titans

C.J. Stroud C.J. Stroud - The Canadian Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud said Thursday that he will start this weekend against the Tennessee Titans after missing two games recovering from a concussion.

“It was tough," he said. “But my team, they held it down as best as they could and I appreciate that. Now I'm back and I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to just do my job again. It was tough but we’re through it now and I’m excited to play.”

Stroud was injured in a Dec. 10 loss to the Jets when his head bounced off the turf after taking a hit with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I’ve had concussions before but this one was probably the worst one I’ve had just because I hit the back of my head and I hit the ground really hard,” he said. “So that was what made it so bad… I (basically) hit my head on cement.”

Stroud’s return will be a huge boost to the Texans, who beat the Titans in overtime before losing to the Browns in the past two weeks with Case Keenum filling in for the star rookie. Stroud, drafted second overall, has thrown for 3,631 yards and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season.

Sunday’s game is a big one for the Texans (8-7), who remain in contention for both the AFC South title and a wild-card playoff spot, but a loss Sunday would drop their chances to reach the postseason for the first time since 2019 to just 13%.

Stroud wasn't with the team during the past two games and instead watched Houston play on television from home. He said he started to feel better around the time of Houston's first matchup against Tennessee. He said it was the first game he watched after his injury because before that he was having vision issues that kept him from watching games.

He tried to stay positive and connected to the team while he was recovering, but admitted it was a difficult time. He said his mother and other family members helped take care of him and make things easier while he got well.

“It was another piece of adversity that I’m faced with and how am I going to react,” he said. “So I didn’t try to get too up, too down. I really was just trying to be supportive of my teammates. I was texting them throughout the week and I was keeping up with the game plan. It was tough to watch because of course I wanted to play, but at the end of the day there was nothing I could do... so I just tried to stay calm.”