Practice report: Cushing back, Williams still out

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Defensive end Mario Williams missed practice for the second consecutive day with a bruised shoulder.

The Texans welcomed back their leading tackler on Thursday, but they practiced without their best pass rusher for the second consecutive day.

Cushing returns: As expected, rookie linebacker Brian Cushing returned to the team and was a full participant in practice on Thursday. The Texans got a scare on Wednesday when Cushing was kept at home due to flu-like symptoms.

"He was fine," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He took all of his reps. He seemed to be fine to me. He actually came over here yesterday evening and met with the coaches, so he caught up on yesterday. So other than missing just the time on the field yesterday, he's fine."

Cushing, who has a team-high 33 tackles through four games, seemed surprised by the hoopla surrounding his being sick.

"It was just precautionary," he said. "All tests came back negative and I'm fine.

"I mean, I had a little cold, but I guess it's a big deal. I don't know. I'm here today and that's all that matters."

Several Texans have come down with flu-like symptoms since rookie tight end Anthony Hill caught the swine flu last week, but Kubiak said that the team's health is improving.

{QUOTE}"Everybody's fine," Kubiak said. "All the guys have been back, and of course Cush was the guy yesterday but he's back today, so we're fine."

Williams still out:Mario Williams, who leads the Texans with two sacks, sat out practice again on Thursday with a bruised shoulder.

"He's getting better," Kubiak said of his Pro Bowl defensive end. "Obviously, if you don't practice on Wednesday or Thursday, there's a concern there, but we'll see tomorrow.

"I feel good about it, but I would've liked to see him take a little bit today. We'll see where he's at tomorrow. Like I said, he can play without the practice reps, so that doesn't concern me. Just want to make sure he's ready to go."

Rookie defensive end Connor Barwin has been lining up behind Williams as the second-team right defensive end. Tim Bulman and recent practice squad call-up Tim Jamison also would be in line for more playing time if Williams cannot play on Sunday.

Hello, Henry: Thursday was running back Chris Henry's second day of practice with the Texans. A second-round draft pick of the Titans in 2007, Henry was signed to Houston's practice squad earlier this week.

"He's done good," Kubiak said. "The good news is I know some of the language we're speaking is the same stuff he had with 'Dinger (Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger) in Tennessee, so that helps him. He's obviously got some talent and they're a team that had a lot of backs, so it's an opportunity for him here."

Along with rookie Arian Foster, Henry is one of two running backs on the Texans' practice squad. Henry played in seven games for the Titans in 2007 and carried 31 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

You tell me: The Texans are 6-2 against the NFC since 2007. Kubiak was asked after practice why his team has had so much success against the conference.

"I don't know," he said. "I hope it continues."

Injuries: Cornerbacks Jacques Reeves (right pinky finger) and Antwaun Molden (quad) both practiced on Thursday. Reeves practiced fully, while Molden was a limited participant. For the full, official injury report, click here.

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