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Houston Texans

Notes: Ryans misses practice, Kubiak names returners


Inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans missed another practice because an elbow injury, but he has not been ruled out of Saturday's game at San Francisco.

Nose tackle Earl Mitchell, who injured a knee against the Saints last Saturday, also could play against the 49ers.

"I think there's a chance with both of them," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday. "DeMeco's doing a lot better today. I watched him work with Kap (director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan). He's got his flexibility back. I didn't want him out here because we were beating on each other a little bit today, so I'm trying to be smart. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Manning, Jones to return kicks
Kubiak announced that the Texans' kick returners will be free safety Danieal Manning and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. It came in response to a question about whether Jones will help the Texans on special teams this year.

"Oh, yeah, he'll definitely be our punt returner, and Danieal will be our kick returner," Kubiak said.

Kubiak wants Manning to focus on learning the Texans' defense, so he is unlikely to return kickoffs against the 49ers. Jones, who's entering his fifth season with the team, will have a chance to return punts.

"It's time for him to have some of those returns," Kubiak said. "He's had some in the past, and it's time for him to get back on the top of his game from that standpoint."

PT plans
Kubiak didn't single out individual players he'd like to see on Saturday, when the Texans' starters will play into the third quarter.

"I'm just interested to see both groups go back out there together," he said. "We will spot-play some guys in the first three quarters as if we were playing a regular season game, so we will do that like we operate on opening day. That'll be interesting to see how those guys come in and swap play with the ones.

"Just to get a bunch of reps, we need to go out there and get 45, 50 snaps as an offense and defense and see how we do."

Cuts looming
Roster cuts are around the corner. Teams were allowed to have 90 players in camp this year, 10 more than in previous years, as a result of the lockout. Rosters must be cut down to 80 players by Aug. 30. and down to the final 53 by Sept. 3.

The Texans' final preseason game is at Minnesota on Sept. 1.

"I just told (the team) I've got (90) guys I'm staring at and I get to keep 53, so they can do the math," Kubiak said. "They've got a lot of work to do in the next eight days to try to find a way to be on this team."

Health check
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, the free agent addition from Cincinnati, practiced again on Wednesday. He said that he will make his Texans debut on Saturday night "unless something drastic happens in my sleep."

Wide receiver Paul Williams was the only injury of note. Williams had returned to practice on Tuesday after missing time with a hamstring injury, but he was pulled out of practice again on Wednesday.

"I see a lot in Glover. Glover has the potential that he can definitely be in the Pro Bowl if he can continue to work hard, listen to the coaches and stuff like that and at the same time trusting and believing in himself. He's got all the tools."
- FS Danieal Manning, on SS Glover Quin

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