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Notes: Foster jogs again, Slaton returns to practice


For the second consecutive day, Texans running back Arian Foster was able to jog at practice as he recovers from a strained hamstring.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak relayed the positive report about Foster on Tuesday afternoon.

"He came out today and basically did what he did yesterday, stretched with the team, did a little jogging," Kubiak said. "We're heading in the right direction here. He will not make the trip with the team (to Minnesota for the preseason finale). He will stay back and rehab. Like I said, all indications are (he's) heading in the right direction and doing the right things."

Foster called his injury a "mild strain" on Monday. He plans to be ready to play in Week 1 against the Colts.

Slaton's status uncertain
Running back Steve Slaton, who has missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Tuesday. Kubiak isn't sure if Slaton will be play against the Vikings.

"We'll see how he came out of today," Kubiak said. "We'll go back and have a light workout in the morning. Let me see how he does and we'll make a decision."

Slaton is competing for a roster spot in a crowded backfield behind Foster, Derrick Ward and Ben Tate. The fourth-year pro led the AFC with 1,659 yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 2008, but his production has since dipped because of a 2009 neck injury and other factors.

"He needs to play, but I've got to go back," Kubiak said. "I haven't even watched practice yet today. I came from practice straight to here, so I'm going to go back and see how he did at practice, how he looked, and I'll watch him in the morning. I know Steve can play in this league. He can be successful in this league, but I'm not going to put him out there Thursday unless I really know he's ready to go. This morning looked good from what I saw."

Second-year standouts
As the preseason draws to a close, several young defensive players have caught Kubiak's eye.

"I think we've had a lot of second-year players that have made a big jump," he said. "That's been very encouraging. To watch Connor Barwin's preseason, to watch Jesse Nading's preseason, to watch (Darryl) Sharpton's preseason, (which) has been excellent… I think the progress of our young players has been good."

Team Luncheon
The Texans had their annual Team Luncheon presented by Amegy Bank of Texas from 12-2 p.m. at the Westin Galleria. The luncheon, which benefits the Houston Texans Foundation, is attended by all players and coaches as well as team chairman and CEO Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith.

Kubiak spoke to the crowd for 5-10 minutes during the event about the upcoming season.

"I appreciate everything they do for our organization," he said afterward. "I told them how I felt about last year, which wasn't very good, and we're all in that together and accept responsibility for that. We're looking forward for a chance to respond this year. We're excited."

Health check
Rookie cornerback Roc Carmichael has missed the entire preseason and most of training camp with a shoulder injury. The fourth-round draft pick could play in the preseason finale, but his status is still up in the air.

"I was hoping that would be the case," Kubiak said. "I'll let you know tomorrow, but I don't know right now."

Kubiak called Thursday's game "very big" for undrafted rookie Terrence Toliver, who could make the team as the fourth or fifth receiver. The problem is that Toliver may not be able to play.

"He was unable to practice yesterday," Kubiak said. "He practiced just briefly today, so I'm hoping he's ready to go, so we'll see. He got dinged a little bit last game, so we'll see where he's at."

"When you walk around the building and people call you 'Cap,' that tells you what guys think of you. That's how much we think of him as a player and as a person. He has missed a lot of time. It has been a concern, but he's huge to this football team. He has looked good in practice the last two days, so we're heading in the right direction."
- Kubiak, on how much it means to have ILB DeMeco Ryans back for the regular season

"Preseason doesn't mean anything, unless you lose."
- Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, speaking to the crowd at the Team Luncheon about the Texans' preseason success

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