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Practice report: Texans return after Ike


The Texans practiced on Tuesday for the first time since Hurricane Ike tore through Houston last weekend. The team returned to facility that was severely damaged by the storm.

Texans await word on Reliant Stadium: Only players, coaches and select front office personnel were allowed access to Reliant Stadium on Tuesday because of the serious damages sustained by the facility during Hurricane Ike.

The stadium, which has been the Texans' home since their inception in 2002, lost five pieces of its retractable roof and suffered considerable water damage.

{QUOTE}Local officials conducted an initial survey of the county-owned facility and found no structural damage, but experts are arriving this week to hold more detailed inspections to determine what repairs must be made to the stadium.

Last Sunday's home game against the Baltimore Ravens was moved to Nov. 9, and the Texans do not play in Houston until Oct. 5 when they host the Indianapolis Colts. If the stadium's repairs are completed by then, there is a chance the Texans will hold the game in Rice Stadium. However, Texans owner Bob McNair remains optimistic that Reliant Stadium will be fully operational for the team's first home game of 2008.

"We've discussed that as a possibility if we could not play here," McNair said. "We would have to talk to them at Rice, but certainly that's a large enough stadium that that is a possibility. We, right now, are optimistic; at least I am, speaking for myself, that we're not going to find any structural damage. The damage is just going to be to the roof and that's something that we're going to be able to deal with and we'll just have to figure out what the solution will be."

Many of the players were taken aback by the state of the stadium.

"After the hurricane was over, I just got in my truck and rode around to look at some of the things and the most shocking thing was when I saw pieces of the stadium missing off the roof," wide receiver Andre Johnson said.

15 straight games: Now that the Baltimore game has been moved to Week 10, the Texans will begin their season by playing their first three games on the road, starting with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Houston also faces the daunting task of playing 15 straight games this season. Because the Texans and Cincinnati Bengals shared the same bye week, their game on Nov. 9 was moved to Oct. 26. The Texans took last weekend off to recover from the storm.

"I just thought it made sense to postpone the game this weekend," general manager Rick Smith said. "I just didn't see any way that we were going to get our players in a position to go play a football game this weekend.

"Obviously, that's not an ideal scenario, but that's something that we've got to deal with. Again, we're going to make the best of the situation. It's a tough situation, but I think we've got a mature group of guys and they understand that they've got to go do something that's not been done."

With the change in the schedule, the Texans become the first team since the Phoenix Cardinals to start with their first three games on the road.

"It's obviously a tough situation, but it's one that we have no control over and we just have to go out and play good, fundamentally-sound, smart football to be successful," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "Whether it's here, whether it's a neutral site or whether it's on the road, that's what we have to focus on."

Players look to regroup: Most players lost their power through the course of the storm and some saw their homes suffer serious damages.

A tree fell on the home of defensive end Mario Williams and tight end Owen Daniels lost a large portion of his roof.

"I got some patches of shingles stripped off my roof to the wood showing, and in one of my guest rooms I have no ceiling," Daniels said. "I have a big hole in another ceiling, carpet's ruined, so I've got a lot of work to do."

To read more about how players' homes were affected by the storm, click **here**.

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