Johnson out, expected to return after bye


After missing his third consecutive day of practice on Friday, Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson will not play in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This will be Johnson's sixth consecutive missed game because of a hamstring injury. Coach Gary Kubiak said he fully expects the five-time Pro Bowler to be ready for the Texans' Nov. 27 game at Jacksonville after the upcoming bye week.

"He is doing wonderful, and we should come out of the bye knowing that he's back ready to go and be a part of our team as we go into those last six weeks," Kubiak said. "He's doing really good, but the smart thing to do is to give him this extra time to rest. We got to continue to have some guys step up and take his place."

Johnson was upbeat in the Texans' locker room on Friday, saying it was "probably the best decision" for him not to play this week.

"You don't want to go out there and risk something happening and have a setback," Johnson said. "With the off week, it just gives you another week, then you get ready to play a game the following week. Basically, it gives you almost two weeks. We felt that was best, and that was the decision that was made."

The Texans will have a few days off next week for their bye, but Johnson will remain in Houston to run routes and work out at Reliant Stadium.

"I should be ready the Jacksonville game," he said. "That's the way I feel about it. Everything's been going very positive this past week. Like I said yesterday, I haven't been feeling the pulling feeling that was causing the pain and stuff, so hopefully I'll continue not to feel it. I didn't feel it today when I ran. I had another good day of work today.

"I've been itching (to play) a lot. That's why Coach Kubiak always says that it's important that I stay positive, because there were times when I've been very down doing the rehab and doing the same things over and over. It just kind of gets frustrating and it gets aggravating, but it's part of the process, and I'm feeling good now. I'm excited about where I'm at."

Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (shoulder), tackle Eric Winston (back) and nose tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle) all practiced for the first time this week on Friday. Kubiak said all three will play against the Bucs.

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