Daniels suits up, talks rehab

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Tight end Owen Daniels is on the comeback trail and said recently that his knee rehab is going well.

For the first time since Nov. 1, 2009, Texans tight end Owen Daniels put on his pads, helmet and full gameday uniform. Even though it was for a *Sports Illustrated for Kids *photo shoot, Daniels liked getting the gear on and posing for a few photos.

"It was kind of weird, since I hadn't done it for so long," Daniels said. "We don't get dressed up like that this time of year, but it was kind of nice to put all the pads on and feel like it feels to go out for a game."

Daniels was shredding NFL defenses through the first seven games of 2009, on pace for more than 80 catches and 1,100 receiving yards. But he tore the ACL in his right knee at the start of the Texans' road victory in Buffalo, and his season was put on ice with eight games to go.

Within weeks of the injury against the Bills, Daniels underwent surgery and was on the comeback trail. Recently, he began testing the knee again in a new way.

"I started running on the field last week," Daniels said. "It feels great. No limping. (Texans athletic trainers) Rolando Ramirez and Geoff Kaplan, all the guys in there, do an excellent job bringing me along and making sure I'll be on time for this season.".

Daniels is no stranger to the rehab process, as twice before he's had to go through an ACL repair. This time around, according to the 2008 Pro Bowler, is going better than his previous experiences.

{QUOTE}"It feels great," Daniels said. "This is my third ACL (injury), so I know the ropes a little bit in terms of how the rehab is. I kind of gauge myself on how the knee feels, and it's the best it's ever felt of the ACL (repairs) that I've had."

Daniels said the team will hold him out of minicamps and OTAs in May and June so that he's better prepared and refreshed for the start of training camp in late July. But just because he won't be on the field with his teammates doesn't mean Daniels won't physically be able to go.

"I have a goal: To be able to run every route in the playbook that I would run, full-speed, by June 1," Daniels said.

If he accomplishes that goal, Daniels said that it would coincide with the six-and-half month anniversary of his surgery.

As for the SI for Kids photo shoot on Tuesday afternoon in the locker room, Daniels was in various stages of dress as he posed for about an hour after he wrapped up some work in the weight room. It's part of a feature the magazine will run soon that will give kids a chance to see what sort of equipment and clothing an NFL player wears on game day.

"They wanted us in a full uniform, as authentic as we could make it," Daniels said. "It was pretty cool."

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