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Johnson updates his status


Andre Johnson injured his knee in the fourth quarter of the Texans' Week 2 win at Carolina.

Nursing a sprained left knee, wide receiver Andre Johnson walked into the locker room Wednesday with a brace on and addressed his status with the media.

The obvious question: Will he play this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium?

"I don't know," Johnson said in his usual soft-spoken tone. "Right now, looking at it, I probably won't. I'm just trying to get back healthy. It's a sprain. It's pretty much what we expected it was. I just have to wait until it heals up. I don't know how long it's going to take.

"I'm just going to take it day-by-day and week-by-week. I'm doing everything possible that I can do to get myself ready to be back on the field."

Asked how he feels about possibly missing the chance to face the defending Super Bowl champs for the AFC South lead, Johnson didn't hide his emotions.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "But the stage is set. To have the world champs coming in, the first time us being 2-0, they're undefeated, so it's a big game. I wish I could be playing. That's all I can say."

Coach Gary Kubiak is sympathetic to Johnson's situation.

"Well, there's not much you can say to a guy when Andre's been healthy throughout his career, and to not have an opportunity to play in this game you know has got to be very difficult for him," Kubiak said Wednesday after practice. "But the good news is he's going to be fine and hopefully sooner than later."

Pressed to give a timetable on Johnson's recovery, Kubiak sounded optimistic that his star player won't miss an extended period of time.

"How long will he be out? I don't know," Kubiak said. "I know that it's very favorable that this could be a short-term deal. I don't think we'll know until he's re-examined, which I think the re-examination is going to take place Friday. It's obvious that the chances are great that he's not going to play this weekend and we have to prepare for him not to play, but we're sure hoping that it doesn't take very long."

{QUOTE}If Johnson doesn't make a miraculous recovery in the coming days, the Texans will compensate with a combination of four wide receivers, including rookie Jacoby Jones, Kevin Walter, André Davis and Jerome Mathis. Johnson has confidence in his teammates to pick up the slack.

"We haven't really sat down and talked yet," Johnson said. "Pretty much this morning we were just installing the game plan and things like that. But those guys know what they have to do. I'll be their biggest fan on the sideline on Sunday. I'm pretty sure they'll go out and give a good performance."

"We're just going to play all four of them," Kubiak said. "They can all move (to different wide receiver spots). Probably the one guy that stays stationary is Jerome, but the other three have to know both spots, and they will be able to do that.

"You definitely can tell there's a spotlight on them, getting a lot more reps than they've normally got. But the key is that we run our offense and we get the ball to the right spot and whoever's supposed to be in that spot makes a play. And I think all four of those kids are very eager about an opportunity."

Quarterback Matt Schaub hopes Johnson has a speedy comeback, but he's preparing to take on Indianapolis without No. 80.

"I think it's just a matter of everyone on our team picking up their game a little bit and raising their level of play and executing their assignment and we'll be in good shape," Schaub said. "You can't replace an Andre Johnson. You just try to do it as a group and everyone just picking up their play a little bit more."

Walter says the receivers will be ready to assume a larger role in the offense.

"Definitely, we have a lot of guys that can make plays," he said. "Now we're going to get more of an opportunity to make plays on Sunday. We're going to spread the ball around and just make plays, basically. We have to make up for Andre's absence."

In a conference call with Houston media today, Colts coach Tony Dungy was asked about the effect Johnson's status has on his team's game plan this week. Of course, Dungy tried to downplay the significance.

"It really doesn't (change anything)," Dungy said. "What it does is take away a tremendous player for them and a big play player, no question. They've got other guys who can make plays and they beat us last year without Andre having a huge game.

"The way they beat us is I think the way they plan to play us, and we've got to do something to try to control the running game and control the intermediate passes. It's going to be a tall order with or without Andre Johnson. Certainly, when you lose a player of that caliber, it has to hurt."

Johnson led the NFL with a career-high 103 catches last season en route to his second Pro Bowl appearance. So far this year, he ranks fourth in the league with 262 receiving yards on 14 catches with three touchdowns, which ties him for third among all wideouts.

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