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Adibi to start at Cleveland

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Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi recorded 14 tackles against the Colts.

Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi is earning his keep in the starting lineup for the Texans. Last Sunday, Adibi replaced injured weakside linebacker Morlon Greenwood at Indy and led the team in tackles with 14, including 13 solos.

With Greenwood still limited in practice, coach Gary Kubiak named Adibi a starter against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

"He (Adibi) was flying around the field making plays," Kubiak said. "He has a lot of things he has to clean up, but then he also made two tackles on special teams. So that's the kid we drafted out of college. He's just a playmaker. He runs all over the field, and he did that the other day."

The Texans drafted Adibi in the fourth round because of the speed and athleticism he showed as an All-American at Virginia Tech. But during first month of the season, Adibi was a shadow of his former self. He struggled to keep on weight and suffered from chronic flu-like symptoms.

"He was experiencing headaches, which were a concern to us," Kubiak said. "All you can do is go through all the tests. We were doing everything we possibly could to basically let the kid have the peace of mind that everything seemed to be OK."

Adibi was not so confident he would suit up for a game this year. He lost a little more than 10 pounds, and his medical tests did not reveal any conclusive information on his health.

"It looked really bad for me at the beginning of the year," Adibi said. "But I just stuck with it and talked to a lot of my family, a lot of players. They told me to just keep with it and keep studying the game."

{QUOTE}At the end of October, things began to turn around for the rookie. He gained weight and started making plays during practice.

"My health issues took some of my strength away," Adibi said. "I wasn't as strong after because I lost some weight. But that's what the strength and conditioning program is for. We got in the weight room and just really worked hard - got some of that strength back, but (I'm) still working on getting my weight back."

The 6-2 Adibi now weighs in at 224 pounds and is looking to add more bulk. What he has regained is his speed, especially when it comes to closing in on a tackle. And he continues to improve his technique.

Against the Ravens on Nov. 9, Adibi got playing time at linebacker and registered three tackles. In the first half at Indy, Adibi did an excellent job of wrapping up Colts running back Joseph Addai. In the final two quarters, there was room for improvement.

"I left some plays out there," Adibi said. "I had one mental error and I missed some tackles. So, I learned from my mistakes. I watched the film, sat down with my position coach (Johnny Holland) and he told me what I was doing wrong, just letting me know what I need to work on."

This week, Adibi will work on playing big in the box to help keep a lid on Browns running back Jamal Lewis, who ran for 134 yards against Houston in 2007. It's work that Adibi seems to be enjoying.

"He had fun playing the game," Kubiak said. "He had fun out here today practicing. It's funny, sometimes these young kids, just hang with them, hang with them, the light kind of goes off. And it sure looks like it went off last week."

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