Texans wide Andre Johnson will not play against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, but he has made significant progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Johnson had the stitches in his right leg removed on Tuesday, one week after having minor surgery. That allowed him to go all-out this week in his rehab from an injury suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 2.
Johnson did not offer a timetable for his return on Friday, but the five-time Pro Bowler said he hopes "to be back as soon as possible." He will travel with the team to Baltimore this weekend.
"I feel like I've been getting better every day," Johnson said. "I've been running for the past couple days, so just trying to get back to where I was… We're just taking it day by day. I've just been working. I'm just trying to do everything I can to get back out on the field."
Johnson will get treatment on Saturday and resume running Monday. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak remarked earlier this week that the sight of Johnson working out on a side field during practice has put a smile on a lot of faces at Reliant Stadium.
"I just think the way I've been moving around out on the field has been surprising to everybody," Johnson said. "I have a lot of the coaches come by and say, 'Hey, man, we can't believe that you just had this done a week ago and you're out there moving around.' I don't know; I'm just hoping that it heals faster than what it's been healing so I can get back out there with my teammates."
Count wide receiver Kevin Walter, Johnson's teammate since 2006, among those impressed by his rapid recovery.
"I told 'Dre I think he's going to come back faster and stronger than he did before, joking around with him," Walter said. "But this is the most I've ever seen him stretch and the most I've seen him work ever since I've been here in the six years I've been with him. The guy's a thoroughbred, man. He's out there working hard around the clock, coming in here early and trying to get it right, because he knows how important it is for him to be healthy for this team to be successful. So he's doing a great job, and it's great to see him out there running."
Johnson will miss his second consecutive game on Sunday when the Texans face the 3-1 Ravens. Houston lost to the Oakland Raiders 25-20 without Johnson last week. Matt Schaub was picked off in the end zone on the game's final play on a pass intended for Jacoby Jones, who had one catch for nine yards in Johnson's place.
"It's very frustrating just to sit there and watch your team out on the field and knowing that if you can be out there and help, maybe things could be different," Johnson said. "That's probably the most frustrating part, especially sitting there watching the Raiders game last week. That was a real frustrating point for me."
Frustration aside, there's no place Johnson would rather be during games than on the sideline with his teammates until he returns to action.
"I can't sit home and watch it," he said. "Even in the game I got hurt, I was in here (locker room) trying to watch the game. They didn't want me to come out, but I couldn't help it. I was just like 'Man, I'm going out there.' You definitely want to be there. Even though you can't play, you definitely want to be there to support your teammates."