Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph was limited in practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday because of a sore groin.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips described Joseph as a non-participant, but he was listed as limited on the injury report.
"J-Joe did not practice today," Kubiak said. "We did expect him to practice a little bit, but (his groin) was still sore. We'll be back in routine tomorrow and see where he's at."
Regardless of the semantics concerning Joseph's participation on Thursday, Kubiak is hopeful Joseph will be able to play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
"He played over 80-some snaps last week, and he's had some soreness (with) this issue before and he's been able to play through it and stuff," Kubiak said. "I'm sitting here thinking he's going to be ready to go. As far as making the final decision, I've got to listen to our doctors. If they think we're risking something when we wake up on Sunday morning, then you've got to move on."
Phillips was similarly optimistic about Joseph's availability.
"He said he's feeling better, but we're going to have to wait until Sunday," Phillips said. "Hopefully, he'll be able to play. That's our hope, obviously."
If Joseph is not able to play, Alan Ball would likely start at cornerback opposite Kareem Jackson. Kubiak said nickel corner Brice McCain also could play on the outside. Second-year cornerback Brandon Harris would likely be active for the first time this season.
Ball (6-2, 191) played under Phillips in Dallas from 2007-10. He started 16 games and had two interceptions for the Cowboys in 2010, then started only twice last season before signing with the Texans in June.
"Alan can play," Phillips said. "That's what we brought him in for. He hasn't played corner in a couple years so getting the technique stuff and I think he's really getting it down better and better. He had two or three interceptions in practice today. Alan looks good. We're confident that he can play."
The Titans rank 10th in the NFL with 272.0 passing yards per game. Quarterback Jake Locker threw for a career-high 378 yards last week against the Detroit Lions.