Texans defensive end Antonio Smith is expected to play in Week 10 at Tampa Bay after injuring his shoulder on Sunday. Whether or not wide receiver Andre Johnson plays is up in the air.
Coach Gary Kubiak said that Johnson worked out on Monday and is "back on track" after missing his fifth consecutive game with a hamstring injury. The five-time Pro Bowler was sore coming out of a workout last Monday and did not practice last week.
"The workout went very good," Kubiak said. "Will he be on the practice field Wednesday? I don't know. We're going to take it a day at a time, but we're back on the track to Andre getting back on the field here very, very quickly, and hopefully that's this week, but I don't know. We'll see, but he's very upbeat. Went through a tough little few days there the week before, but now we've come out of this thing fine."
With Arian Foster and Ben Tate leading a dominant running game, the Texans' offense actually has been more productive without Johnson than with him this season. The Texans have averaged 415.6 total yards and 160.4 rushing yards in the last five games without Johnson, compared to 388.8 total yards and 148.5 rushing per game in the first four with him.
"We've moved the ball really good," Kubiak said. "We've run the ball very well. Against Tennessee (in Week 7), we threw the ball very well, also. To miss a player like that and still find a way to score some points and get things done, that's very important to the success of the team. And that's been the case across the board, not just with Andre's situation, but with Mario's (Williams) situation, Danieal Manning. That's been the key to where we're at right now, guys stepping up."
The Texans won't have to ask anybody to step up this week for Smith, a defensive captain who has 4.5 sacks this season. Smith had an MRI on his shoulder after suffering an injury in the first half of Sunday's 30-12 victory over the Browns.
"He's fine," Kubiak said. "He's just got a banged-up shoulder. He did take a shot going into the second half (on Sunday). I think he played eight or nine plays in the second half. Really, really sore today; he did not work out with the team. He stayed inside, but knowing Antonio, he'll be ready to go. He just may miss some time this week in practice."