Texans tight end Owen Daniels was enjoying the best season of his career in 2009 when he suffered a torn ACL in a Nov. 1 road game at Buffalo.
Now, it appears that the 2008 Pro Bowler will not be fully ready for Texans training camp when it begins on July 30.
"If I had to go to one place that's going to be the sticking point throughout camp as we work... it's our tight end position, because O.D. and Anthony Hill will not be participating in training camp," coach Gary Kubiak said after the Texans' OTA practice on Wednesday. "You go carrying six tight ends when you get through training camp, you've got other problems at other spots, so we've got some work to do from that standpoint."
Hill, a fourth-round draft pick last year, also saw his 2009 season end early with a torn ACL. His injury came almost a month-and-a-half later than Daniels', on Dec. 13 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Daniels was on pace for 89 catches, 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns before the injury to his right knee. He said in March that he had set a goal to be able to run full-speed by June 1, but Kubiak said that keeping Daniels out of training camp has been the plan all along.
"He's way ahead of schedule, he's doing very well, but it's been thought of all the time that if we get to camp that he would do some possible work in seven-on-seven, non-contact type of stuff but (we would) not throw him right back into full banging, so to speak," Kubiak said. "So there's going to be some maneuvering to do, and Anthony realistically probably won't be ready until the beginning of the season."
With Daniels and Hill out, the Texans have four other tight ends on the roster: Joel Dreessen, who replaced Daniels in the starting lineup after his injury last season; James Casey, a 2009 rookie out of Rice; Garrett Graham, a rookie fourth-round draft pick from Wisconsin; and Michael Gaines, a free agent who joined the team earlier this offseason.