Texans rookie left tackle Duane Brown said his daily practices against defensive end Mario Williams helped tremendously when he took to the field for the first time in the preseason.
"You don't find too many guys with that size and speed," Brown said of Williams. "So I was pretty ready for the speed of the defensive ends, but they didn't have his strength, so it was a bit easier."
Brown went up against Elvis Dumervil early in the game. The rookie played the entire first half.
"I'd give myself probably a 'B,'" said Brown. "I think I did pretty good, especially in pass protection. But I have a ways to go, a lot of polishing up on my technique and everything to get ready for next week against New Orleans."
OT Ephraim Salaam underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage damage. He'll be sidelined from three to four weeks.
"He woke up Thursday morning and could feel something under his kneecap," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He got an MRI. It was a cartilage problem. We expect him back for the start of the season."
Salaam, who enters his third season with the Texans, was backing up rookie Duane Brown.
"The guy's 430 years old, so this is nothing to him," said left guard Chester Pitts, who is Salaam's close friend. "It's another day at the office. When he played in Denver, he actually got his knee scoped the day after a game and played the next game, so he heals fast."
With Ephraim Salaam out for three to four weeks and Scott Jackson sidelined because of a foot injury, the Texans signed veteran free agent offensive tackle Torrin Tucker.
To make room for Tucker on the roster, running back Mike Bell was placed on waivers. Because running back Chris Brown has returned from a back injury, Bell was expendable.
Bell showed up out of shape and got hurt before he was waived.
"Everybody in the league's working with these problems, and we've got to work through it," coach Gary Kubiak said. "As tough as it is, it's a great opportunity for Butler and Frye. They're good young players, and they're getting ready to play a ton of football."
OG Charles Spencer, who was placed on waivers by Carolina on Thursday, could return to the Texans if he gets in good physical condition.
The Texans waived Spencer on July 22, and the Panthers claimed him. Coach John Fox said Thursday that Spencer wasn't waived because of the injury he suffered in Houston but because he was out of shape.
"The door's still open," GM Rick Smith said. "We've been in contact with him. If he gets in shape, then another chapter in the Charles Spencer story could be written with our team."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It never becomes old to get into the end zone, that's for sure. People always say celebrate like you've been there before, but I say celebrate like you're never going to get there again, because you never know if it's going to be your last play ever in the NFL." -- WR David Anderson, on his preseason touchdown catch.
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