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Houston Texans

Feeling "better and better," Phillips returns to practice


Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was back at practice on Wednesday, two weeks after taking a sudden medical leave of absence.

Phillips, 64, had surgery on his kidney and gallbladder on Dec. 15. He spent eight days at Methodist Hospital. He returned to work for a couple hours on Monday to meet with players and coaches.

"It's good to be back," Phillips said. "I'm a little more sore than I thought I'd be. I'm working my way back, doing what the doctors say. Ready to keep building up and getting ready.

"I probably will be in the press box this week, and we'll just go from there. The recovery was great. Everything came through the way we wanted it to come through."

Phillips – whose mother, Debbie, and father, former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, were at practice on Wednesday – said he is just now starting to eat solid foods.

"I'm starting to feel better and better," he said. "I feel good and then all of a sudden my energy level does go down a little bit, but that'll get better as it goes. Once you get into your routine, once you start eating and you start being with the players and with the team in the meetings and so forth, then everything gets easier."

In his first year as Texans defensive coordinator, Phillips has taken Houston's defense from 30th (376.9 yards/game) in 2010 to second (280.7). The Texans are tied for second in passing defense (184.0) after ranking last (267.5) in 2010.

The Texans lost both games they played without Phillips, 28-13 to the Carolina Panthers at home and 19-16 to the previously one-win Colts in Indianapolis.

"It's good to have him back," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. "I know it's good with the players. We've got to be smart with him out here, make sure he doesn't get banged around. But no, it's good to have him back out here and see that he's feeling much better. "

"I went to the hospital the Saturday after the surgery, I think, and to see where he was then and where he's at right now, it's a great feeling, because it's one thing you can't take for granted in life's your health. It's good to see him back out here, and I know we all appreciate him and the players are glad to see him back."

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