Tight end Owen Daniels will be a game-time decision on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Friday.
Daniels sat out of practice all week to receive treatment on his injured left hamstring, which he aggravated during pregame warm-ups on Monday night at Indianapolis. He is listed as questionable.
"I'm hoping I can play," Daniels said on Friday. "We've got 48 hours still to get ready, so we've got a lot more treatment sessions. I've been known to heal pretty quickly, and it's been feeling better."
The hamstring issue is just the latest setback for Daniels, who tore his right ACL in 2009. After offseason knee surgery, he developed a stress fracture in his kneecap during rehab. He was ready in time for the start of the season but hurt his hamstring in Week 3 against Dallas.
Daniels had one catch for eight yards in that game. It was his lowest output of the season, and he matched it against the Colts on Monday.
"The explosiveness is not there," he said of how the injury affects him. "The endurance is not there. I felt like I was really fighting it all day Monday – like towing a boat, basically, the whole time. I could run, I could do things, just didn't have the explosiveness that I'm used to having."
If Daniels is ruled out on Sunday morning, Joel Dreessen will start in his place. Dreessen has eight catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns this season. Daniels, a 2008 Pro Bowler, has 16 catches for 200 yards.
"We are not going to change anything we do offensively," Kubiak said. "Joel has played well (when) given his opportunities. I just feel bad for Owen because he works so hard to come back from a major knee surgery and then starts having little hamstring problems and tried to play through them for the team. It just got worse the other night. I just feel bad for all the work he's put in and (he's) not able to compete, but we'll get him back."
Second-year tight end James Casey also will get a chance to play if Daniels sits out. Casey does not have any catches this season.
"I'm excited for him," Kubiak said. "He's been working real hard for an opportunity to play. We'll see where Owen is at, but it could very well be his opportunity."
Kubiak has been impressed with the way that Casey, a fifth-round draft pick out of Rice, has performed in practice.
"James is a player who works really, really hard for a young guy," Kubiak said. "He has not had a lot of opportunities, but when he gets one, he's going to take advantage of it. He does everything you ask a guy to do as a young player. So if he gets more time this week, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make some plays."