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Practice report: Texans begin Ike relief aid


Running back Steve Slaton will start on Sunday against the Titans.

The Texans continued to prepare for the Tennessee Titans Thursday as they also began to plan relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Team starts relief efforts:After practice on Monday, Texans owner Bob McNair spoke to the team about the Texans' developing plans to assist the Houston area in relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

The Texans will begin their efforts this evening, when players will meet with members of the Houston Police Department who served through the storm. The event takes place from 6-8 p.m. at the Houston Police Department Association building near downtown, located at 1600 State Street.

Texans vice president of security Ryan Reichert organized the event. Reichert, who served with the Houston Police Department for 10 years, wanted to show his appreciation for officers who he said have been working 12-hour shifts while dealing with the same storm fallout in their personal lives as the rest of the city.

On Friday, Texans' front office staff members will partner with the Houston Food Bank to pack family disaster relief boxes for those affected by the hurricane. McNair also indicated to players that the team has more plans in store to aid with the city's ongoing relief efforts.

"In the past, with Katrina, I think that (McNair) said that they did a telethon, and with Hurricane Allison, if I'm correct, they did something," running back Ahman Green said. "So they plan to do something similar to those past circumstances."

No news on Reliant:The Texans still don't know whether damages to Reliant Stadium caused by Ike will be repaired by Oct. 5, the date of the team's next home game against the Indianapolis Colts. Moving the game to Rice Stadium remains a potential option if Reliant isn't ready in time.

"That would be one, but we'll check all of the options," McNair said. "There are multiple options out there, but we don't have to cross that bridge yet, so we'll wait a little while."

McNair added that the Texans had not yet received damage assessments from engineers who toured the stadium over the past two days. The reports are first being sent to officials of Harris County, which owns the stadium. The county will then forward the information to the team.

Slaton to start: Rookie running back Steve Slaton will start on Sunday for the first time in his NFL career. Green (ankle) is not expected to play.

A third-round draft pick out of West Virginia, Slaton was expected to help the Texans on third down situations this season but quickly has become a critical part of Houston's offense. He led the Texans with 13 carries for 43 yards in the opener at Pittsburgh after compiling a team-high 138 rushing yards in the preseason.

"We need a guy like him to become one hell of a player really fast," Kubiak said. "And if he does that, it's going to help our team in the long haul. So there's no waiting anymore. He's a tough kid. We're counting on the kid doing it."

Third-year back Chris Taylor will share the load with Slaton on Sunday. Taylor saw time on special teams but not at running back against the Steelers.

"Steve will start, but he and Chris are going to swap," Kubiak said. "They are going to play off and on. If we get into the third (running back), Darius (Walker) will be there, too."

Injury report: Green (ankle) did not practice, but did accelerate his rehab on Thursday.

"It looked like he was getting closer," Kubiak said. "It's never looked very good for this week unless something really big happens by tomorrow. It doesn't look very good for this week, but I sure hope he's available for next week."

Tight end Mark Bruener (hamstring) also did not practice. He has been ruled out of Sunday's contest.

Tackle Ephraim Salaam (knee) and defensive tackle Travis Johnson (knee) both participated in practice on a limited basis. Johnson is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis, and Kubiak said the team is trying to make a decision on whether or not Johnson will be ready to go against Tennessee.

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

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