Quarterback Matt Schaub watched practice Thursday without a sling protecting the left shoulder he dislocated against the Titans. Schaub remains doubtful for Sunday and is aiming to return to action next week.
O-line competition: Rookies Kasey Studdard is locked into a competition with newly signed offensive lineman Mike Brisiel for starting honors at right guard. Studdard has been top guard reserve in the depth chart and would be the natural choice, but head coach Gary Kubiak wanted Brisiel to have a chance to prove himself during practice this week.
"Who's going to start, I don't know," Kubiak said. "I think right now what's probably going to take place is I'm going to play them both - some how, some way. Regardless of who starts, the other guy is going to play. They need to be evaluated in the game also."
Drew Hodgdon also was acquired earlier this week to back up Mike Flanagan at center. Brisiel has taken snaps at center and could also fill in for Flanagan.
"It all depends if we suit Drew up," Kubiak said. "If I'm able to suit eight offensive linemen, then Drew can be the backup center and Mike doesn't have to worry about that. But depending on Ahman (Green), I'm going into a lot of situations right now. But depending on what happens at running back - that has a lot to do with whether I can suit seven or eight offensive linemen."
Green update: Kubiak continued to put running back Ahman Green to work Thursday. The Pro Bowler practiced with the first team offense for the second day in a row, something he has not done since the third week of the season.
"He practiced today, took more reps than he did yesterday," Kubiak said. "We'll go back and evaluate what he did and see how he comes out of it in the morning."
This week, the head coach must decide if Green will be healthy enough to stay on the active roster. If the running back's knee is still swelling from cutting drills, he will go on the injure reserve list, joining 16 other Texans. The Texans would probably use his roster spot for practice squad quarterback Shane Boyd, who will be needed to back up quarterback Sage Rosenfels as starter Schaub recovers from a dislocated shoulder.
The Texans injured reserve list is currently the longest in the NFL.
"A" for effort: When asked what impresses most about his team this season, Kubiak unwaveringly answered: effort.
"I like the way they're playing as far as their effort," Kubiak said. "I think we're playing extremely hard. We've had ourselves in some great position as a football team. We haven't responded sometimes when we've been in that position, but our effort and our attention to what we're doing's been good. But we've got to learn how to play well when the stakes get higher and we get ourselves in those positions; that's something we've got to learn to do"
Injury report: For the Texans' official injury report, click here.