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Practice report: Schaub throws


The Texans will meet the Browns for the sixth time on Sunday with Cleveland holding a 3-2 series lead. The Browns could be without Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow.

Baby steps for Schaub: Quarterback Matt Schaub threw in practice for the first time since injuring his MCL on Nov. 2 at Minnesota. Schaub was monitored by trainers as he took limited drop steps for about 15 to 20 minutes.

"I was watching him from afar," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He was two fields over, but from here he looked like he took a step forward.

"He was gingerly dropping and just trying to get back in the flow of planting his feet and making a throw."

Cochran goes to IR: Defensive end Earl Cochran was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with turf toe in his right foot. Cochran had registered two sacks this season and emerged as a leader on the defensive line.

The Texans replaced Cochran by activating defensive end Jesse Nading from the practice squad. Nading originally signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Colorado State.

The Texans also re-signed defensive tackle Gabe Long to the practice squad. Long spent the first two weeks of September on the Texans' practice squad.

Slaton a little banged up: Running back Steve Slaton left Reliant Stadium Wednesday with a bag of ice strapped to his chest. Slaton was limited in practice because of chest pains caused by a hit he took at Indianapolis, but he said the soreness would not hold him back Sunday at Cleveland.

{QUOTE}"I fell on the ball, so I had a little soreness," Slaton said. "But this weekend, I'll be great.

"It's typical. You go out there running for 60 minutes, you kind of get these nicks and knacks."

Slaton is coming off a record-setting game at Indy where he racked up 156 yards rushing, including a 71-yard touchdown run. His ability to break off big plays in open space has drawn praise from the offensive line.

"It's very fun because you block for a few seconds, and before you know it, he's 60 or 70 yards down the field," left tackle Duane Brown said. "So having a guy with that big-play ability really makes it easier on an offensive lineman."

Thanks to Slaton, the Texans now are averaging 114.3 yards rushing per game. Slaton ranks third among all rookies in rushing yards per game with 701 and he is averaging 89.9 total yards per game.

"I don't know what we would have done from Week 2 on had he not stepped to the plate and held up the way he's held up," Kubiak said. "We could have really had some serious, serious issues with Ahman (Green) missing some time. We would have kind of been back in the same boat we were last year."

Amobi back at work: After missing the last two games with a high left ankle sprain, Amobi Okoye practiced with the team.

"I'm hoping so for Sunday," Okoye said. "I want to get back out there and compete and show my teammates what I've got."

The defensive tackle injured his ankle against the Vikings and said his recovery has been slower than anticipated.

"I'm surprised with the way it's healed so far, because I had the same deal in college," Okoye said. "I think it was less severe than what I had here, but my push off is getting better, as is the side-to-side movement. The straight ahead stuff is looking good."

This season, Okoye was hoping to build on the rookie campaign he put together last year when he registered 5.5 sacks and won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in September. But injuries and lineup shuffling have kept him from putting up big numbers.

"It's been frustrating in the fact that statistically, that's the frustrating part about it, I don't have any sacks," Okoye said. "Play-wise, I've been happy with the way I've been able to get better from last year, last season. I've seen a lot of improvement in myself."

The secret to winning on the road: The Cleveland Browns (4-6) have been admittedly inconsistent this season. Their sole win at home came against last year's Super Bowl Champion Giants. But they have learned how to win on the road, and that's not easy in the NFL - just ask Kubiak:

"I think it's a couple of things. It's confidence. You've got to play with the same confidence on the road as you do at home. Being a good running football team and a good defensive football team is usually a deadly combination on the road when you look at like the Giants last year, those types of teams are consistent on the road.

"We've been a team that has probably thrown it too much out there. When we have been able to run it like Jacksonville and last week, then we've been a pretty good team on that day. It still hasn't gotten us a victory, but we've been able to play those games the way we wanted to play them. So, no excuses there—it's just things we've got to get better at."

Browns coach Romeo Crennel said winning on the road comes down to handling adversity.

"You have to deal with the crowd noise," Crennel said. "You've got to deal with the change of schedule and then if you don't play good, sound football on the road, you give your opponent momentum and that's one of the things that you don't want to do. So, you have to be basically sound as far as turnovers and things like that."

Injury notes: Guard Chester Pitts (calf) and defensive tackle Travis Johnson (knee) did not participate in practice.

For the Browns, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (neck) and tight end Kellen Winslow (shoulder) also were on the sidelines.

For the official injury report, click **here**.

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