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Houston Texans

Practice report: Jones, Cushing limited


Receiver/return specialist Jacoby Jones is fighting a calf injury, and his status for Monday night is in question.

After taking Wednesday off, the Texans returned to practice on Thursday outside at the Methodist Training Center.

Day-to-day: Wide receiver Jacoby Jones took part in some of the special teams period today but wasn't able to practice after that because of his injured left calf. Head coach Gary Kubiak said Jones is battling the pain.

"He's still pretty sore," Kubiak said. "He has some swelling in there, and we're trying to work the soreness out. He's going to be day-to-day. Obviously, today he was a very limited participant."

Jones also said he's day-to-day and added that he'll spend extra time trying to get back to full strength.

"I'll be in the training room all day, so I probably won't get out of here until about five o'clock today," Jones said. "I ran on it today and it felt all right, a little bit."

Jones explained what has happened since the club's trip to Indianapolis.

"It's aggravating," he said. "I did it during the Colts game but I played the whole game and I practiced that Tuesday. But I guess on the plane ride home (to New Orleans during the bye week vacation), the air pressure made it swell up on me."

Kubiak wants a healthy Jones for the showdown against the Titans and the rest of the team's final seven games. Jones has run the ball, caught passes and returned kicks and punts this season, averaging a shade over 17 yards when he touches the ball.

"I think I'm probably going to give you a different answer every day," Kubiak said when pressed about Jones' status for Monday. "Obviously, today we took a little step forward, and hopefully (we'll take) a bigger one tomorrow."

Martinez is ready: Jones is averaging 11.5 yards a punt return and 27.5 yards per kickoff return. He's also best on the team in yards per catch, averaging 18.3. Kubiak said if Jones isn't ready to play Monday, the club can rely on André Davis at kick returner and Glenn Martinez at punt returner.

"(Martinez) has done it in this league before, and he's done it very, very well," Kubiak said. "Just watching him with our team this year, I've been very comfortable with him. Actually, the last time he suited for us was when we played Tennessee, so I'm very comfortable with him."

Martinez contributed a pair of tackles in that Week 2 victory. He said he's ready for the opportunity to run back punts after taking a break from the job.

{QUOTE}"It's nothing new to me," Martinez said. "I was a return guy in Denver. I have a little history with Tennessee, actually. The only punt return I have for a touchdown was against Tennessee, Monday night in '07. That's a little irony there.

"I'm looking forward to making plays and helping this team out with whatever I can do."

Cushing's schedule: After practicing earlier this week with his teammates, rookie linebacker Brian Cushing resumed the lighter routine that he began earlier this season and did not practice on Thursday. The same foot injury that's bothered the strongside linebacker has kept head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan and the Texans cautious.

"We went two days hard with him on Monday and Tuesday," Kubiak said. "Geoff's got this pattern going of how many days he wants him out there in a row. So he just took the mental reps today. He'll come back tomorrow and (Saturday) and practice."

Ready for some football: With another practice in the rearview mirror, the bright lights of Monday Night Football are one day closer. Quarterback Matt Schaub is excited about the chance to play on the big stage.

"Everybody will be watching, we'll be the only show in town, and it'll be exciting," Schaub said. "I think everybody's juices get going, but once you get in the flow of the game and get that first pass out of the way and everything, you settle down, you just play the game."

Running back Steve Slaton picked up 130 yards on 21 carries and scored twice last season in the Monday Night Football victory over the Jaguars. He also relishes the opportunity to play in the spotlight.

"I think every player loves playing on a big stage - being that game, being the only channel everybody's going to pretty much be focused on," Slaton said. "That's why you play the sport, to be on the highest stage that you can."

Kubiak also recognizes the significance of the contest, but he emphasizes that not getting overly-excited is important as well.

"It's the only game that's played, so obviously in this business it's a big game. But for us it's number 10 and we've had a lot of time to think about this one, and a lot of time to stew over our last game so it's just important."

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