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Houston Texans

Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing expected to play vs. 49ers


Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Sunday that wide receiver Andre Johnson and linebacker Brian Cushing should play in the team's home preseason opener on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Johnson (groin) and Cushing (illness) both sat out of the Texans' preseason opener at Carolina on Saturday night. Johnson was with the team but did not dress for the game. Cushing, the Texans' 2011 MVP, did not travel to Charlotte after spending two nights in a hospital last week.

"Cush should be on the field in the morning," Kubiak said. "He's doing great. He's feeling really good. Y'all know we left him at home, and he's had a good weekend, so he's back to himself."

Johnson missed most of the first week of training camp with a pulled groin. The five-time Pro Bowler returned to practice last week but was on a play count that gradually increased to about 20 reps as the week progressed.

"If everything goes according to schedule, he should play this week," Kubiak said. "He could've played in the (Panthers) game, but he was behind everybody else practice-time wise, so it didn't make a lot of sense to me. Did get a god workout yesterday, but we'll continue to push him forward, and I expect him to get his reps this weekend. Is it as many as the ones will play? I don't know. We'll see."

Johnson, 31, missed nine games with hamstring injuries last season. He also sat out of OTAs (organized team activities) in May and June after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The Texans' biggest injury concern coming out of their preseason opener is nose tackle Shaun Cody, who suffered a lower back injury against the Panthers. Cody has started 32 consecutive regular-season games.

"He's got a disc issue," Kubiak said on Sunday afternoon. "Really, still in an evaluation process. He received an epidural today and we're going to see how he reacts to that, so I think it's going to be a couple days before we really know exactly what we're looking at. But obviously, he's going to miss some time here this week."

Kubiak said defensive lineman Ra'Shon Harris and rookie defensive end Jared Crick should return to practice on Monday. Rookie wide receiver Jerrell Jackson and wide receiver Bryant Johson could be back by Tuesday.

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