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Houston Texans

Johnson ruled out but "very close" to returning


Andre Johnson will not play against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15 after sitting out of practice all week with a left hamstring injury.

This is the eighth game that the Texans' All-Pro wide receiver will miss this season. Jacoby Jones will start in his place.

"He'll be out, but he ran very well today," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said on Friday. "He has made a lot of progress this week, so we're very close to having Andre back on the field, so that's exciting."

Johnson missed six games with a right hamstring injury from Weeks 5-10. He injured his other hamstring on Dec. 4 in just his second game back. He said earlier this week that he would like to play in a game or two before the end of the regular season to get rid of any rust before the playoffs beign.

"I think it's important, but I also have to be smart," Kubiak said. "I would love to see him come back and play in a couple games and get some reps before we get to January, but I'm going to listen to (director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap, I'm going to listen to Andre, because we need to make sure when he comes back, he comes back and he's here for the long haul. It'll be week to week, but we're getting close."

Right guard Mike Brisiel and cornerback Sherrick McManis also were ruled out on Friday with ankle injuries. Antoine Caldwell will start for Brisiel against the Panthers. Quintin Demps or Shiloh Keo will return kickoffs in McManis' place.

Defensive end Tim Bulman (calf), tight end Joel Dreessen (knee) and nose tackle Shaun Cody (knee) were all limited in Friday's practice and are questionable for Sunday. Cody was a new addition to the injury report on Friday.

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