Johnson, Casey return to practice; Johnson day-to-day


All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center.

Johnson had been running and rehabbing on a side field during practice for the last two weeks.

"He went the whole practice," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's a huge step forward. It's just good to get him out of working on his own mode and work with the players. I think it's going to be a process this week, but there's obviously a chance, the fact that he practiced. So it'll be a day-to-day deal."

Kubiak said he will listen to Johnson this week to decide if he's ready to play against the Jaguars on Sunday. Johnson didn't sound overly optimistic on Wednesday, saying he felt "some tugging" in his right leg when he tried to explode and open up his stride on the practice field.

"I wouldn't say I felt great," Johnson said. "I didn't feel how I expected I would feel, but I was able to go out and make a few plays, so I'll just keep taking it one day at a time... If I feel the way I feel today, I probably won't play Sunday. But, you know, today is not Sunday. We still have some days ahead of us that we have to work through."

Johnson was injured in the second quarter against Pittsburgh in Week 4. He had minor surgery two days later to remove scar tissue behind his right knee.

"From the day he fell down against Pittsburgh to where we're at today, that's pretty amazing," Kubiak said. "So I think we're all very fortunate, and we know that we're all going to get a great player back here at some point, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

"He looked good running to me (Wednesday), but we've got to see like (when) he wakes up tomorrow, how sore is he, those type of things. I'm going to listen to him. We've got a long way to go this season and we need to make sure we do the right thing here. We've got a long week. We'll see what happens."

Fullback James Casey also returned to practice for the Texans on Wednesday. He will play in Week 8 after missing the last two games with a strained pectoral muscle. Kubiak did not say whether the versatile Casey would start over Lawrence Vickers, who's more of traditional lead blocker.

"We'll see," Kubiak said. "It all depends what we're doing. I think there's a place for both of them as we move forward here and (that) gives us other avenues offensively, but we'll see."

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