On their first day of training camp, the Texans practiced with a fully healthy Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson for the first time in almost 10 months on Saturday morning at the Methodist Training Center.
Johnson, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in May, and Schaub, who had a season-ending Lisfranc injury last November, were both unable to participate in OTAs (organized team activities) in the spring. They hadn't gone through a full practice together since Sept. 30, the week leading up to the Texans' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
"It was good," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said of having his two Pro Bowlers on the field. "Early in practice, I thought they both looked very sharp. You've got to remember, Matt hadn't been in the huddle in eight months… He's got a lot of work to do at this camp. Obviously, those guys are big pieces of our puzzle, and with some of the young offensive movement we've got going on here, those guys have to remind constant and they need to have a great camp."
Schaub wasted little time catching up with Johnson, completing passes to his star wideout on the first two plays of 9-on-7 drills. The first was on a 10-yard comeback route to the left side. Johnson made a diving grab on the right sideline for the second one, drawing a massive cheer from the 5,012 fans in attendance.
"It was like riding a bike because we've been doing it for so long together now and working all summer," Schaub said. "It's what we've been doing. But yeah, it was good to get him the ball early and get it his way and get everyone going. It was nice to be out there."
Johnson said he "didn't have any problems" with his left knee. He said he was especially looking forward to this year's training camp after missing so much time last season with injuries.
"To be honest, I really couldn't sleep last night," Johnson said. "I was just so antsy to get back out here and just be with my teammates… It was exciting to just be back out here in front of the fans. Driving up to the stadium this morning, you could see how many fans were out here. Everybody is anticipating the season and having big expectations, but we have to get the work done out here first."
Schaub also reported no pain in his surgically-repaired right foot. He is practicing with no restrictions on the field.
"Everything feels really good, really strong," he said after practice. "I feel as good as I did before I had the injury.
"I wish we were still out here for another hour-and-a-half, two hours. It's just great to be out here. Everyone's so excited. The anticipation of camp, the countdown started in May for me, anyway. I was probably here at 6:30 (Saturday morning), taped and ready to go, looking in my locker wondering where everyone was. It was exciting to get back out, get back in the huddle with my guys."