Texans expect to bring the hurt against Giants TEXANS: Jones skips drills for treatment Williams,
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The availability of Andre Johnson, Mario Williams and Jacoby Jones will be "game-time" decisions Sunday, according to Texans coach Gary Kubiak.
But Johnson, recovering from a twice-sprained ankle, and Williams, who pulled a groin muscle in practice Thursday, said there's no decision as far as they're concerned. The two Pro Bowlers intend to play against the New York Giants.
"I'll be out there," Johnson said. "I felt great running around today."
Williams, calling his injury "a little boo-boo," said, "If I can walk, there's no way I'm going to miss the game. I've got to play with it. I'm going to ride until the wheels fall off. I'll give it everything I've got."
Johnson was uncomfortable with an ankle brace he was fitted with for Thursday's practice but switched to a shorter, less restrictive one Friday that, he said, "allowed me to do the things I need to do."
Quarterback Matt Schaub called Johnson's optimism "awesome" and said he was "very excited" to be getting his favorite target back. In his three starts, Johnson had 19 catches for 266 yards and the spectacular touchdown reception that allowed the Texans to force overtime in their victory over Washington.
"(Johnson) did his walk-through stuff (Friday)," Kubiak said. "He's obviously much further along. Last week at this time we didn't feel good about him."
"As long as there are no setbacks," Kubiak said, Johnson will likely start.
Johnson confirmed that he had undergone a second round of "blood spinning" Monday. The procedure, called platelet-rich plasma therapy, involves withdrawing a vial of the injured athlete's blood and putting it in a centrifuge, which separates the red and white cells and the platelet-rich plasma, which is thought to have enhanced healing capacity. The plasma is then injected into the damaged area to speed up recovery.
It's controversial because the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned its use for muscle injuries under the assumption it could be used to obtain greater strength. But Johnson's injury is to a tendon.
The NFL's leading receiver over the previous two seasons had sprained the ankle in the first half of the Redskins game but returned after getting a painkilling shot. He then got it wrenched again when he was tackled after a catch he made a week later against Dallas.
After Johnson was able to do little in practice leading up to the Oakland game, Kubiak concluded the prudent option would be to have him sit out against the Raiders.
The Texans won 34-27 but lost Jones, who had started in Johnson's place, to a calf-muscle strain.
Anderson on call
If Jones can't go Sunday, David Anderson will be asked to pick up the slack at receiver and also, presumably, handle punt returns, although the Texans can be expected to use a lot of double-tight-end sets, which they did against the Raiders. Backup Joel Dreessen caught five passes, one shy of his career high.
Jones didn't even attend practice Friday, staying in the training room to get treatment. He also never surfaced in the locker room later to discuss how he felt and, although all three are listed as questionable, it would appear Jones is much more questionable than Johnson or Williams.
Williams, a defensive end whose five sacks are more than twice as many as he has had at the same juncture in any of his four previous seasons, had been sent for a precautionary MRI on Thursday after practice, but, Kubiak said, "everything looked fine."
Williams had a previous groin issue during training camp, but this injury, to the opposite muscle, is a new one.
Asked which side was hurting and how the pain might limit him, he said: "I can't tell you that, man. That's like giving tips (to the Giants). I'll be fine."
Follow-up questions on the subject elicited a whole string of "I'll be fine" replies.
Regarding his fast start, Williams said: "I've got to play harder. I still feel like there's room for improvement.
"There's always something else you can do. I'm still pretty raw."
Questioned about Williams' mobility, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans insisted: "I'm not worried about Mario. He's a tough guy. He's fought through things before."
Cushing to return
The Texans are getting another Pro Bowler, outside linebacker Brian Cushing, back from his four-game suspension, and free safety Eugene Wilson will return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him against the Raiders.
Wilson is likely to start because NFL coaches tend to believe players shouldn't lose jobs because of injuries.
Asked whether Wilson or Troy Nolan, who made the Texans' first two interceptions of the season off deflections in Oakland, would start, Kubiak said: "It doesn't matter. They're both going to play."
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