Foster, Johnson among sidelined Texans
A week into training camp, some of the Houston Texans’ stars are
Running back Arian Foster (hamstring), receiver Andre Johnson
(dislocated finger) and linebacker Brian Cushing (knee) sat out
Saturday’s practices, though all three are expected back by the end
of next week.
Johnson hurt his left index finger on Tuesday, the Texans’
second day of practice. Coach Gary Kubiak said Johnson is also one
of several players who’s been sick in recent days. Foster pulled
his left hamstring on Friday, and Cushing has been out all week
while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Kubiak said Saturday that Johnson may return to practice on
Sunday, and Foster will definitely miss ”a few days.” Kubiak is
hoping that Cushing returns by the middle of next week.
”I think, offensively, we’re behind right now,” Kubiak said.
”We’re missing some guys. We don’t have Andre at practice. Arian
doesn’t practice. This game’s not easy. You’ve got to be out there
for us to get better.”
Foster was the NFL’s leading rusher last season (1,616 yards).
He downplayed the severity of his injury, and happily mingled with
fans after Saturday’s workout, which was open to the public.
”I think any time you have a hamstring injury, you have to rest
it,” Foster said. ”That’s the only thing that can heal it. So
that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Foster, an undrafted free agent in 2009, pulled a hamstring just
before the Senior Bowl, and tweaked it in his rookie season with
Houston. He’s not nearly as concerned this time.
”Knee injuries are frightening,” Foster said. ”Hamstrings are
part of the business.”
The temperature has hovered in the upper 90s with high humidity
in Houston most of the week, but despite the health issues, the
Texans practiced for more than two hours on Saturday.
Tight end Owen Daniels was back on the field after sitting out
practice Friday with an illness. Running back Derrick Ward left
Saturday morning’s practice because of exhaustion, and guard Kasey
Studdard is now sick and sat out the afternoon session.
Kubiak didn’t think that the illnesses were related to the
”There have actually been some other people in the organization
with the same issue, and they haven’t been out there practicing,”
Kubiak said. ”I think it’s just something we have to deal with;
it’s always something. But that’s their job, to figure out a way to
deal with it.”
Kubiak said the upside of having starters sidelined is
evaluating what the younger players can do.
Steve Slaton, Ben Tate and Chris Ogbonnaya took most of the
carries in team drills on Saturday. Slaton has disappointed since a
solid rookie season in 2008, and 2010 second-round draft pick Tate
is back after breaking his right ankle in Houston’s first preseason
game and missing last season. Ogbonnaya, a former Texas star, was
signed to the Texans’ practice squad last September.
”Steve’s practicing well,” Kubiak said. ”Ogbonnaya is really
making a push to make this team and, to me, Tate – that’s as good
as Tate has practiced around here. Our guys need to know that, and
I told them, `Hey, we’ve got problems. Whoever lines up at running
back for us is going to play good and they did that today.”
The Texans open the preseason against the New York Jets on Aug.
15, and Kubiak hasn’t started to assess who will play and for how
long. He said the lockout has compressed the timeframe on those
”We’ll probably be sitting up here Saturday night, having a
pow-wow, `OK, we think this guy is ready to go, is that guy ready
to go?” he said. ”It’s another interesting situation than what
we’ve dealt with in the past. The key is that we’re ready Sept. 11
(the season opener against Indianapolis), that’s the most important
thing, so we’ve got to do right by all those players.”