a traumatic experience

Houston Texans star Tank Dell opens up about Florida shooting

Houston Texans Tank Dell
We expect big things from Tank Dell this season. Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images.

As Houston Texans receiver Tank Dell recovered in the hospital after being wounded in a Florida restaurant shooting, one question dominated his thoughts.

“The only thing I was asking (was) am I going to be all right to play football? Like that was my main thing,” Dell said Tuesday. “Will I be OK to run and play football like I’d been doing?”

Doctors soon told him that the gunshot wound to his leg was a flesh wound that would leave no permanent damage.

“So, once they told me it was just like a through and through, once they told me that and was like, ‘You’ll be good,’ I was ready to go,” Dell said.

The second-year player said he was sidelined for only about a week after the April shooting in Sanford, Florida, that wounded nine others before resuming his workouts to prepare for the season.

“It’s just a blessing that I’m safe,” said Dell, who is from Daytona Beach. “But it’s a traumatic experience.”

Dell has completely recovered from the shooting and was a full participant in Houston’s minicamp Tuesday. He shined in the more than hourlong practice, grabbing several passes from C.J. Stroud.

Dell said he’s moved on from the shooting with the help of his faith, family, friends and those in the Texans organization. He attends church once a week and prays each morning and night.

“I got God on my side, keep him first in everything I do,” he said. “So, I feel good. I’ve got the right group of guys around me, keeping my head up, my mom, my pops, people back home, my grandmother, everybody praying for me and just calling me checking in every day now.”

Dell was drafted in the third round in 2023 after a standout career at the University of Houston. He had 709 yards receiving and set a franchise rookie record with seven touchdown receptions last season before breaking his left fibula in December.

After missing time with that injury, then dealing with the aftermath of the shooting, Dell is happy simply to be back on the field.

“It’s a blessing just to be out there just running around,” he said. “I don’t even have to get the ball, just running around and just running routes and just feeling love from my team makes it feels great.”

Stroud, who counts Dell among his best friends on the team, raved about how hard he’s worked to get back after all he’s endured in the last few months.

“This football stuff, it seems like it’s everything, but it’s not,” Stroud said. “We’re people and we go through a lot off the field that people don’t know. And as his brother I have to be there for him just like he’s there for me. I’m just proud of him; the word proud isn’t even probably enough to state the feelings that I have for that guy.”

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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