Stroud remains in concussion protocol, could miss second straight game for Texans on Sunday

HOUSTON (AP) — Quarterback C.J. Stroud remains in the concussion protocol and could miss a second consecutive game on Sunday when Houston hosts Cleveland in a key AFC matchup.

Coach Demeco Ryans said Wednesday that Stroud is doing better, but he doesn't know when he will be cleared to play.

“We are following protocols and each person, each individual is different,” Ryans said. “So, like anything else, each person takes different amounts of time to recover. So, he's going through the protocols like everybody has whenever they've been in the concussion protocol and ... the most important thing is to make sure that CJ is healthy and when he's ready to go, he's going to go. Will be ready, and I will let you guys know.”

Stroud was injured in a 30–6 loss to the Jets on December 10 when his head bounced off the turf after being hit with about 6½ minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

With Stroud out last week, the Texans started third-string quarterback Case Keenum over Davis Mills, who was the team's starter for two seasons before Stroud was drafted.

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The Texans may have to rely on the 35-year-old Keenum again this week against the Browns (9-5), who are among several teams competing with Houston for a playoff spot.

Stroud's absence is a big blow for the team trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019. The second overall pick has been the biggest reason for Houston's improvement this season and has thrown for 3,631 yards and 20 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

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