Dayne, coming off a 122-yard rushing performance at Oakland on Nov. 4, had a memorable bye week as his collegiate jersey was retired at the University of Wisconsin on Saturday.
The Texans came back refreshed from the bye week to the welcome sight of a healthy starting quarterback and the continued progress of Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.
'Dre ready: Johnson will return to game action this Sunday when the Texans take on the Saints. The wideout said he isn't quite 100 percent, but that won't stop him from seeing the field for the first time since Week 2.
"As you go through the season, you're never 100 percent, but I'm good enough to go out and play without any problems or anything like that," he said. "I don't think I'm limited in any way, so I'm good enough to go out and play."
Johnson's head coach was pleased to see his top playmaker back in the mix.
"He looks good," Gary Kubiak said. "I think the best thing we did is not play him in Oakland. That was really hard not to do, but I think it was good for him. He looks like his old self right now, so everybody's excited to see him back on the field."
The biggest obstacle Johnson said he faces is getting his timing back. But quarterback Matt Schaub looked healthy in Monday's practice, and Johnson is looking forward to reestablishing the potent connection he and Schaub had before his injury.
"I think I'll just be anxious to get out there and just make a play, because when you make that first play everything's back to normal again," he said. "But at the same time, you don't want to do nothing crazy, go out there and try to make a play too fast and do something to hurt your team."
With Johnson's return, André Davis will move into the third receiver role, while leading receiver Kevin Walter will retain his starting spot and Jacoby Jones will work in as the fourth wideout.
Green's status unchanged: During the bye week, running back Ahman Green received a second opinion on his hobbled knee from specialist Dr. James Andrews in Mobile, Ala., but the tests did not reveal any new information.
Kubiak said the team will continue to monitor Green's status on a day-to-day basis for the rest of the year, sticking to his plan of resting of lightly practicing the back during the week.
"I think it's positive," Kubiak said of the test results. "We were hoping that he wouldn't go down there and we'd find something that we didn't know about, so I think it is what it is and it's something that he's going to have to fight through for the rest of this season.
"And then hopefully, the way we're handling him and him just continuing especially taking this break right now, it helps him be there for us, because it's obvious when he's there for our football team we're a lot better football team."
Robinson 'doing fine':Cornerback Dunta Robinson also visited with Dr. Andrews during the bye week, undergoing surgery to mend season-ending injuries to his anterior cruciate ligament and hamstring suffered in Week 9. Kubiak said the surgery went well, adding that Robinson is doing fine and will remain in Alabama for the next several days.
But the head coach could not provide a long-term prognosis for the young cornerback, a rising star who had never missed a game in his career after being picked by the Texans in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
"This is a long-haul deal," Kubiak said. "I mean, this is going to take some time. It's an ACL-plus and ACL's an automatic six months, so this is going to be a major injury for him to overcome. But he's a hard worker and they felt good about the repair, and so we'll get him started rehabbing as quick as possible."
Secondary moves:The rest of the Texans secondary has been shuffled around to accommodate for the loss of Robinson.
Safety Von Hutchins has been moved to corner and will battle with DeMarcus Faggins and Jamar Fletcher (when he returns next week from an appendectomy) for starting duties opposite rookie Fred Bennett, while Will Demps moves up to replace Hutchins as the starting free safety.
"It's a little different set-up in what we're doing, but I see a lot of excitement in them because there's going to be some new guys on the football field that haven't been out there," Kubiak said. "(And) it's not about one guy. They're going to have to play well as a group."
With a slew of injuries and lineup shifts transforming the secondary since the preseason, strong safety C.C. Brown is the only starter remaining from the original 2007 starting unit.
"The biggest thing is everybody's got to try to stay positive and focus and just go out there and work hard and communicate a lot because we've got new people out there, but it's still going to be the same thing," Brown said. "People are just going to step up and just make plays.
"Everything's still the same; it feels like I've played with everybody throughout my career. So the biggest thing I can (do is) go out there and just inspire them to play hard."
According to Kubiak, the Texans are in the process of potentially signing a player to join the secondary, in which case the team would decide between activating that player or rookie safety Brandon Mitchell from the practice squad.
'Great Dayne' honored:Running back Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner at Wisconsin who holds the NCAA all-time rushing mark with 6,397 career yards, had his number 33 jersey retired at the Michigan-Wisconsin college football game on Saturday.
"It was cool," Dayne said. "I had a great time. It was a great ceremony."
It had been so long since Dayne had been to his alma mater in Madison, Wisc., that he couldn't even remember the last time he attended a game there. But this trip was one he'll never forget. Dayne attended the game with his family and said it was particularly special to have his three children on the field with him for the ceremony.
He even got some good-natured ribbing from his oldest son, eight-year-old Javian.
"They had a highlight film," Dayne said, "and he was like, 'You was cheating, Dad! You was the biggest one out there! You was too big; you was cheating!' So he and I laughed about that."
Dayne is one of two Heisman winners in Wisconsin football history and one of six players with his name and number displayed on the façade of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium.