I know there was a segment of the Texans' fan base who was hoping that Darryl Sharpton might be able to return from the PUP List to soften the blow of losing Brian Cushing. I hope those folks weren't holding their breath.
"He’s not ready," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. "He’s very close. He’s working with our trainers and running very, very well, but he is not ready to go on the field with the rest of the players yet. I don’t know… We’ll see where we’re at in a couple weeks here."
Sharpton has three weeks to get healthy enough to return to practice. From the day he begins practicing, the Texans would have an additional three weeks to decide whether to add Sharpton to the 53-man roster. If either of those deadlines passes, Sharpton will not be able to play this season.
So Sharpton has another three weeks to see if he can return to practice. If he returns, the Texans have three weeks after that to decide whether he's ready to join the 53-man roster; if he doesn't return to practice within three weeks, his season is officially over. Likewise, if Sharpton returns to practice within three weeks but the Texans don't add him to the 53-man roster within three weeks of his return, he's ineligible to return this season. Assuming Sharpton takes the full three weeks to return to the practice field and the Texans take another three weeks to add him to the roster, we'd be looking at a Week 13 return. That doesn't exactly scream "impact" at ILB.
If Sharpton does get right enough to return to the practice field and eventually the roster (no guarantee of either, much less both, happening), the question naturally becomes how much the Texans could realistically expect to get from him for the remainder of the 2012 season. I fear the answer to that is an unequivocal "very little, if anything." At this point, I'm not even counting on Sharpton being able to get off the PUP List at all. If I was a betting man, I'd wager that the next time you see Sharpton running out of the tunnel at Reliant will be in August of 2013.