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Johnson rejoins team; Tate, Ward still out

Posted Oct 6, 2011

The Texans know they’ll be without wide receiver Andre Johnson this Sunday against Oakland. They also might be without running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, the top backups to Arian Foster.


The Texans know they’ll be without wide receiver Andre Johnson this Sunday against Oakland. They also might be missing running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, who sat out of practice again on Thursday.

Johnson watched Thursday's practice at the Methodist Training Center after having surgery on his right leg on Tuesday. He began rehab on his injured right hamstring with the Texans’ training staff on Wednesday afternoon.

“He’s doing good,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “It’s my understanding he’s a little sore coming out of the surgery but very upbeat. (He) knows exactly what he’s dealing with, and like I said, we just keep our fingers crossed that we get there pretty quickly. Knowing him, we will.”

There is still no timetable on Johnson’s return, but Kubiak remains optimistic about his recovery.

“The way it was described to me is after about a week of getting in the rehab process, we’ll have a better idea of what we’re looking at,” Kubiak said. “The fact that everybody’s so positive, the doctors, trainers, everybody, makes me feel pretty good about it.”

Along with Johnson, the Texans continue to work without Ward (ankle) and Tate (groin), the top backups to Arian Foster. Kubiak said Thursday that “one way or another,” Chris Ogbonnaya will probably be the Texans’ number two back against the Raiders in Week 5.

Fullback Lawrence Vickers or James Casey would be the Texans’ third running back against Oakland if Ward and Tate are out.

“Let’s see what happens,” Kubiak said. “I’m hoping those two guys maybe practice a little bit tomorrow and make it tough on us.”

Ogbonnaya was activated from the practice squad just last week. The second-year pro out of Texas, who led the Texans in rushing in the preseason, had one carry for four yards against Pittsburgh in Week 4.

“He’s getting better as a player,” Kubiak said. “He played very good for Joe (Marciano) on special teams. Obviously, it’s a big step for him in his career, but he’s worked hard. He deserves the opportunity to do it. He’s done a good job.”

Cornerbacks Kareem Jackson (knee) and Sherrick McManis (hamstring) both practiced on Thursday. Jackson was inactive in Week 4. McManis has missed the last two games.

If Jackson is available on Sunday, Kubiak will have to decide whether to start him or Jason Allen. Allen replaced Jackson in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh and had the game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter.

“First off, Kareem’s got to prove to us tomorrow that he’s back to 100 percent or awful close to it before we put him back out there,” Kubiak said. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but like I said, I’ll make that decision going into the game. Hopefully, they’re both available. I look at them as both starters, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

Linebacker Tim Dobbins, who tweaked a hamstring against the Steelers, did not practice on Thursday.

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