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Foster questionable for Week 1; Ward, Tate ready

Posted Sep 9, 2011

Running back Arian Foster (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 1 against the Colts. Backups Derrick Ward and Ben Tate are ready to step up if needed.


Texans running back Arian Foster is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Colts with the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last two weeks.

Foster did not practice on Friday but continued to rehab on a side field. Coach Gary Kubiak confirmed that Foster will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

“Arian did not practice today, but went extremely hard in his rehab and took a big step forward,” Kubiak said. “I’m going to work him out in the morning.”

Kubiak said that Foster “worked really hard” with Texans director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan during practice.

“We put him through reps in his own way,” Kubiak said. “He’s over there running plays with Kap, and we’ve got a regiment that he goes through. I’m not worried about Arian knowing what to do. He can line up and play. We’ll be honest with ourselves as far as the assessment goes and a lot of that will have to do with how he works for us tomorrow morning, but he worked very, very hard today.”

If Foster cannot play, Kubiak said that Derrick Ward would start in his place and Ben Tate would also play. He said that Steve Slaton is prepared to play as well and that the Texans could end up using all three backs.

“I just believe you go in with the rotation, but if one of them is playing well, he plays,” Kubiak said. “That’s the way I believe. If I like the way a guy’s playing and he’s not tapping his head, he’s going to stay out there for a while, so we’ll see how that pans out.

“Ward is very smart. He has excellent pass protection as far as the things you got to pick up in this league to be a three-down back. He’s a big guy, he’s tough to tackle. He’s always moving forward with the ball. I like guys like that with our scheme. Tate’s more of a big-play person, got speed, those type of things, has the ability out in the open field to possibly have some big runs. That’s probably where they’re a little different from that standpoint.”

Foster said he felt better on Friday than he did on Thursday.

“I opened up and it felt good with minimal pain or any kind of hindrance,” he said. “It felt good. We’re just going to go and see how I feel tomorrow, and same thing the next day.

“I think the coaches and I both know that if you rush this injury back… it’s going to bite you again and it’s going to keep biting you. It’s just the nature of being a runner, so we’ve got to be smart with it, but as of now, it feels good.”

Ward, who averaged 6.3 yards per carry behind Foster last season, and Tate, who averaged 7.4 yards per carry in the preseason, are both ready to answer the call if needed.

“I always practice like I’m going to play a lot, so it’s no different from past years,” Ward said. “I’ve had a great training camp. I feel fresh. I feel good. I have a better understanding of the offense, obviously being underneath it for a year now, and I’m just excited. Year eight for me going in, and I’m just ready to go.”

Tate, a second-round pick out of Auburn in 2010, said that he had a good week of practice.

“I like to stay mistake-free,” he said. “I had very little mistakes this week, and coming down to today, no mistakes at all. That’s how you want to be: The closer you get to the game, no mistakes. That’s how it was for me. I’ll be ready to go.

“I’m 100 percent ready. I can do everything in the playbook that they need me to do.”

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