HOUSTON » Houston Texans rookie running back Ben Tate will need surgery after suffering a severe ankle injury in Saturday’s preseason opener in Arizona.
The 5-foot-11, 211-pound Tate was hurt in the third quarter of the Texans’ 19-16 loss to the Cardinals. Tate, the Texans’ second-round draft pick out of Auburn, had only two carries for 7 yards before he was carted off the field.
Coach Gary Kubiak said yesterday that the injury is "pretty severe," and that Tate will likely have surgery tomorrow or Wednesday.
"It doesn’t look good," Kubiak said. "That’s the best I can describe it for now."
Houston plays its second preseason game in New Orleans on Saturday.
Tate’s injury drops him out of a crowded competition at running back. Arian Foster started Saturday’s game, and had four rushes for 31 yards.
Steve Slaton is Foster’s main challenger after his 2009 season was cut short by a neck injury. He ran 10 times for 22 yards in Arizona, but fumbled on the goal line. Slaton had seven fumbles last season.
"It’s tough, because that’s what held us back and him back last year," Kubiak said. "To have it happen in the first preseason game, it’s obviously disappointing. If it’s going to happen, I’m sure glad it happened there, and not three weeks from now. But it’s something that’s got to get corrected for us to be successful."
Chris Henry, also in the mix for the running back job, had two carries for 6 yards and caught a pass for a 14-yard gain.
Cowboys lose a blocker
When right tackle Marc Colombo missed seven games with leg and ankle injuries last season, the Dallas Cowboys discovered they had a backup who was more than capable of starting.
They will be put in the same position again.
Colombo, who had tweaked his right knee in yesterday’s morning practice, injured it again in the afternoon scrimmage and will have arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Colombo will likely miss at least two weeks and more likely a month. The season opener is Sept. 12.
It will also put more stress on Colombo’s surgically repaired knees. Both have been operated on during his career, and he wears braces on both knees.
Colombo missed the last seven regular-season games in 2009 but returned for the playoffs. In his absence, Doug Free played so well that the Cowboys released five-time Pro Bowler Flozell Adams in the offseason and promoted Free to starter at left tackle.