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Practice report: Texans prepare for Ike


The Texans were back to work Wednesday, getting ready to host Baltimore in the Liberty White Liftoff home opener. Aside from the Ravens' physical defensive, the team was preparing for another force of nature: Hurricane Ike.

Planning for Ike: As of Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Ike was projected to hit the southern portion of the Gulf Coast on Saturday, bypassing the Houston area. The Texans are planning on holding their homer on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. as scheduled, but the team has made contingency plans because the fast-moving hurricane could change course.

"When we know where it's going to come ashore and when, we'll tell you what the plan is," Texans owner Bob McNair said. "But we don't know that. The most likely thing is it will go somewhere else rather than come right here.

"They have options; our people work on it in the league. And as soon as we get a better fix on where it might come ashore and when, they we can speak more intelligently as to what we might do. Right now, we are playing here Sunday afternoon."

For the most part, the players said they had not been distracted by the looming storm.

"I was born and raised in Miami, so I'm used to all of those hurricane distractions, center Chris Myers said. "We've just got to go in there and practice day to day, and if something comes through, we'll work with it. We've got the bubble to go inside, and if we can't do anything, we can't do anything. It's got to be mental preparation. But as of now, we're not even worried about that."

{QUOTE} will continue to provide updates of the team's hurricane plans.

Running back decisions: Running back Ahman Green sat out of practice with a swollen sprained ankle, which he injured in the first half of last Sunday's game at Pittsburgh. Green will be listed as day-to-day but probably won't practice on Thursday.

Coach Gary Kubiak could wait until Saturday to decide which running backs he will use in the rotation against the Ravens.

"Well, that's a last minute deal," Kubiak. "As of right now, those young kids are going. So, we'll see where Ahman is. I don't think we'll see him work tomorrow. We'll see where he's at on Friday."

The young players the coach referred to are rookie Steve Slaton and third-year pro Chris Taylor. Both are healthy, but the Texans will need to add an additional back if Green is not ready for action. The Texans first option would be to sign Darius Walker from the practice squad.

"Other than (signing) Darius, right now, no - I don't see anything happening," Kubiak said. "Maybe (sign) a scout team player because we need another set of legs out here to practice, but other than that, no."

Kubiak also must decide how he plans to rotate his running backs in Week 2. Against the Steelers, Slaton led the team in carries with 13 for 43 yards and the he appears to be headed for starting duties on Sunday.

"I think Chris has one start in this league and if Ahman doesn't play, Slaton is fixing to tie him," Kubiak said. "They are both young players; they are both going to play. It's not like one of them is going to take all of the load, so I'm counting on both of them."

DeMeco earns Ray's respect: Linebacker DeMeco Ryans met Ray Lewis when they played together at the Pro Bowl this year. It was the ninth time Lewis had been to Hawaii in his 13-year career, but it was Ryans who earned the starting spot for the AFC team.

Many could say it was a turning of the tide for Lewis, a middle linebacker who has reigned supreme in the NFL for over a decade. But Lewis isn't ready to back down anytime soon. Just ask Ryans.

"When you talk about middle linebackers, he's the guy," Ryans said of Lewis. "He's the guy that everybody looks up to. Everybody wants to be the Ray Lewis of their team. The type of leader that he is, the way he has all his guys rallied around him, that's the template for every other middle linebacker on his team.

"He's just always intense when he's on the field. I would like to emulate the way that he has his teammates behind him, the way he leads his teammates. I don't think that there's any other linebacker that leads the way that he does."

Ryans could be well on his way. The third-year pro has impressed Lewis with his football smarts and tackling ability.

"He really is a young guy who understands football," Lewis said. "And then the brief time I spent with him at the Pro Bowl, you know, he's a humble guy. He really loves to play the game, and he understands the game. When you come into the league that young and understand the game like that, I think you have a head start. I think he has a great, great, bright future in front of him."

Injury updates: Defensive tackle Travis Johnson sat out of practice with a sprained knee and ankle. He will be listed as day-to-day. Guard Chester Pitts (ankle), left tackle Ephraim Salaam (knee) and tight end Mark Bruener (hamstring) were limited in practice. Defensive end Stanley McClover underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus.

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

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