Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has been playing through a high-ankle sprain since Week 2, but he revealed on Friday that his injury has taken a turn for the worse.
Johnson said that an MRI on Monday revealed further damage to his right ankle, which has rendered him a game-time decision for Sunday's game at Denver.
"I had the high-ankle sprain and I was working on the front part of my ankle, and I got caught when I was down on the ground and got tackled in the Baltimore game (Dec. 13)," he said. "My joint kind of got jammed up a little bit, and it's affecting me in the back now, kind of like around the Achilles area. When I run now, I kind of feel more pain than I was feeling before. In the MRI, it just showed that.
"We didn't think that it could get any worse, and it's gotten worse. Like I said, I'm just trying to do everything I can to make sure I can play on Sunday."
Johnson did not practice this week but was able to do some jogging on Friday. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that he'll strictly listen to Johnson on Sunday morning. If Johnson feels like he can take a painkilling shot in his ankle and play, he'll play.
"You just have to see what happens," Johnson said. "I've been getting a shot the past few games, and I can still feel pain in there. The part that's (different), it's only so much of it you can numb up, and they can't numb up the joint. And that's what's really starting to bother me pretty bad now. You're just trying to do all the treatment and stuff and then see how it feels. And if it feels good on Sunday, I'll go. If not, then I won't be out there."
The only game that Johnson has missed this season was against the Raiders in Week 4. But with the latest development, he said that the risk of causing further damage to his ankle is being taken into consideration.
"It's something you have to think about," he said. "You don't want to do anything to set yourself back or even set your team back. You don't want to have anything crazy happen and then you have to have surgery and stuff like that. So that's definitely something we've talked about and been thinking about, but we'll make the decision on Sunday and see what happens."
Johnson ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,216 receiving yards. He needs 284 yards in the final two games to become the first receiver in history with 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons. He also has a chance to join Jerry Rice as the only player ever to lead the league in receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.