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Practice Insider - Friday


Wide receiver Jacoby Jones is looking forward to his first career start on Sunday.

The Houston Texans held their last practice Friday before squaring off against the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's Blue Steel game at Reliant Stadium.

Andre Update: All week, doctors have been examining the left knee that wide receiver Andre Johnson sprained during the fourth quarter of the Texans' 34-21 win over Carolina.

Johnson and the Texans' medical team have been reluctant to provide a timetable for his return, but the organization officially announced Friday that the Pro Bowl wideout will not play in Sunday's game against the Colts.

Johnson, who ranks fourth in the league with 262 receiving yards on 14 catches, will undergo further tests Friday afternoon. The Texans, meanwhile, continue to hope for a best-case scenario for the team's best receiver.

"The doctor is coming over today," Kubiak said "They'll take the immobilizer off and see where he's at. But we're just keeping our fingers crossed that they'll walk out with some good news."

For additional information on Johnson's status, go to: /news/story3647.html

And the starters are: With Johnson officially out of the lineup, Kubiak had to reconfigure his receiving corps. The head coach said Thursday that wideout Kevin Walter would get starting duties, but he waited until after Friday's practice to choose a second starting receiver.

Rookie Jacoby Jones will be the man for the job, lining up across from Walter. During the preseason, Jones flashed play-making brilliance with two punt return touchdowns. He has continued to be productive during the regular season, collecting 33 receiving yards in two games.

Kubiak thinks the second-round draft pick from Lane College has proven he's ready for his first career start.

"I think he's earned the right," Kubiak said. "He's played extremely well. He was working as our third. We came out here and wanted to see how he responded to this opportunity in practice this week, and he's been very good. He's gotten better each day he's been out here, so the kid deserves a chance."

Supporting cast: Jones and Walter will get plenty of support from wide receivers Andre' Davis and Jerome Mathis. Kubiak intends to rotate all four players throughout the game.

"We're going to have a rotation system, and it will take all four of them for us to be successful without Andre (Johnson) in there," Kubiak said. "We'll get them all ready to go."

Davis has had to work extremely hard this week to prepare for play action because he has been inactive for both games this season. The lightening-quick receiver does not fit into the Texans' special teams scheme like kick returner Jerome Mathis, but now the two wideouts will factor heavily in the Texans' receiving game plan against the Colts.

"He's (Mathis) a return guy," Kubiak said. "We need those guys to be able to cover some kicks. As you can see, that's what Jerome (Mathis) has been doing for this team. But now, he (Davis) will definitely play and could be a factor. Like I said, all four of them will be going, we'll see how they step up."

Locked and loaded: The 2-0 Texans and the 2-0 Indianapolis Colts are playing Sunday for an early lead in the AFC South.

Only once has a Houston team started the season 3-0, and that team was the 1991 Oilers. So to say there is a lot riding on this game against the reigning Super Bowl Champs is a Texas-sized understatement. And during Friday's practice, it was apparent the players knew so much.

"Our boys were locked in," Kubiak said. "It was pretty quiet out here today, which tells you your players are locked into what's going on.
"I think our players can feel what's going on around the city. And that's fine. That's good. They've worked hard to be in that position, but they've got to go play well just like they have the first two weeks to have a chance to be successful. I just want them to have fun and go play – go play well."

Injury Report: For the Texans official injury report, please visit: /gameday/InjuryReport.asp

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