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Notes: Cushing improvement, win streaks


Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Thursday at Reliant Stadium:

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Johnson's progressFor the second straight day, wide receiver Andre Johnson practiced with his teammates. Find out how much better his hamstring felt by clicking here.

Cushing returnsInside linebacker Brian Cushing didn't practice Wednesday because of a sinus infection, but was back with his teammates on Thursday. Cushing, who leads the Texans in total tackles with 47, said that he's playing better in 2011 than he has in years past.

"I think so, but I'm not really the judge of that," Cushing said. "As far as how I play and my confidence and my assignments, yeah I am."

He attributed him improved play, in part, to his ability to avoid injury thusfar.

"That's a big difference as well, being healthy and playing all the games and having a scheme down," Cushing said. "I'm comfortable and just going at it."

Streak importance
The Texans snapped a two-game losing streak with their victory in Nashville last Sunday, and are looking to establish a winning streak of their own. That idea has been a subject of conversation this week in the locker room, and count left tackle Duane Brown as someone who places a lot of importance on a succession of victories.

"Huge deal coming off of a big win last week," Brown said. "We get a division game at home. Just try to get the ball rolling in the right direction and get going from here."

Cushing agreed.

"Yeah, we have to, especially divisional games like this," Cushing said.  "This is huge for us and we got to get it done."

Casey's progress
For the second straight day, fullback James Casey went through the work with his teammates, but in a limited role. His return from a pectoral injury suffered against the Raiders is going smoothly, but his status for Sunday is still up in the air.

"They didn't have me out there doing too much, but I felt fine," Casey said. "It's still day-to-day. We'll see what happens in tomorrow's practice and I guess we'll see what Coach decides to do on Sunday."

Casey said he's wearing special protective gear, but that it's not a hindrance.

"They have like a little strap thing that goes up my arm and it ties to my shoulder pads and keeps my arm from going back too far," Casey said. "That's basically it. It's nothing too bad. I wore it today and I can still run. It's nothing that's too limiting."

Quotable"No way. Let's see, it's only held since 1968 and we only played 10 games a year, so that's 30 games. It's the old home run deal, 162 games or 154, right? We can put an asterisk by it." –Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, on if he knew his career assisted tackles record at the University of Houston was going to get broken tonight.

"But we got a strong group, guys that I think they know what the final product is supposed to look like and they're trying to get there, but they're willing to do the work to get there." –Head coach Gary Kubiak on how important the player leadership is on the team this year.

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