The Texans practiced Friday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakWR Andre JohnsonOLB Mario Williams
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the injuries) "Derrick (Ward) and Ben (Tate) both practiced today and looked pretty good, so I'm going to have one of them available on Sunday. I got to make a decision on which one I think is best. They've come a long way. (Tim) Dobbins still did not practice today. He'll be a game-time decision. Kareem (Jackson) did practice today. Other than that, everything's the same."
(on if RB Chris Ogbonnaya will still be the No. 2 running back on Sunday) "Yeah, I think so. I think we go into the game that way because that's the way we've been working all week. It'd be nice if Derrick (Ward) and Ben (Tate) both are able to get another week's rest, but if they got to play, they got to play. I think one of them will be available to go."
(on the wide receivers) "We got our four guys. We got Kevin (Walter) and Jacoby (Jones) and David (Anderson) and Bryant (Johnson), so we'll see. We're being challenged right now from a numbers standpoint as a football team. That's what this League's about, trying to find a way each week to regroup and put your best group on the field to win another game, so we're being challenged this week from that standpoint personnel-wise and we got to pass the test."
(on if he liked the way the receivers stepped up this week) "Yeah, I think we practiced good as a football team this week. We've had to ask a lot of guys to do a lot of things. We got quarterbacks playing DB because we got a lot of guys nicked up, but that's part of this League. When you do that well and guys accept that responsibility, you're able to keep going, so I like the way we practiced this week."
(on if players are more mature this year when stepping up when other players go down) "Yeah, I think it's a personality that a team takes over. It's so easy to say in pro football, 'Well I'm a quarterback' or 'I'm a wide receiver,' but to be honest with you, in the NFL season, once you hit about Week 5 through 16, you better be able to play a lot of spots so we can practice. I see guys doing a good job handling situations and that speaks volumes for the leadership on the team in my opinion."
WR Andre Johnson(on how he's feeling) "I'm feeling pretty good. Walking around since the little minor procedure was done. I've been walking ever since it was done. I'm feeling pretty good. I have to wait a few days to just get the stitches out and then once I get the stitches out, I can go all out and see where I'm at."
(on if he was nervous about the procedure) "When you have something like that done, you definitely worry about how fast it's going to heal, but the way I'm feeling right now and just the way the rehab is going, as far as my rehab, I haven't felt any pain with any of the exercises I've been doing. I've been walking around normal. Actually, I'm pretty pumped. I wish I could go out there and try to run around today to see how it feels, but I have to just wait to get the stitches out and then we'll go all out once the stitches come out."
(on when he'll be able to play again) "If I had to pick a date, I would give it a couple weeks. You really can't put a timeframe on it. Just my gut feeling right now, I would give it a couple weeks."
(on if he feels like he's a fast healer) "Yeah, this is probably the, out of any procedure I've ever had done, this is the probably the best I've felt after I've had one done. I'm pretty confident about this one. Like I said, I'm pretty pumped. Just can't wait to get these stitches out, so I can get to rolling."
(on how many stitches he has) "They had to make two incisions and I'm not sure how many stitches are back there, but I have two cuts."
(on the process to prevent scar tissue and speed up the healing) "This just went in. I had a lot of scarring around my tendon. That's what the irritation and everything was coming from, so they had to go in and clean it out, clean it up. They went in, cleaned it up and that was pretty much it."
(on if he feels good about his rehab) "I do. Like I said, the way I feel, I haven't been feeling any pain doing the rehab. I've been on the bike. With all those things, I haven't felt any pain. I've been walking around. I've been bending my leg and everything. I haven't felt any pain, any soreness or anything. The only thing that really bothers me a little bit is where I have the stitches. I think once I can get those out and the cuts close up, then I'll be fine. I think that's why I'm so pumped about it. I feel very comfortable."
(on what he thought when he went down in the game) "I really didn't know. I was scared. I really couldn't explain what it was. I just felt pain. You could see I was grabbing my leg when I was laying on the ground. We went and got the MRI and got the problem fixed, so I won't have to deal with it again."
(on if he's surprised by how good he feels now) "Yeah, he told me I'd feel a lot better. At first when he told me, I'm like 'Nah, I don't think it'll feel that way after the procedure,' but he didn't lie to me. I feel real good. Like I said, I'm walking around. Even when some of the coaches see me, they see like a pep in my step. They wish I could be out there, but it's a process we have to go through and I'm going to keep doing what I need to do to be ready as fast as possible."
(on how hard it is for him to have to miss games) "It's hard, especially the way we're playing as a team. When I came in the locker room after I got injured, that was the first thing I thought about. To have something like this happen, it's a bad feeling, but at the same time, it's a part of the game and I think it'll make us stronger as a football team and I think it makes me much better as a player. I get to sit back and watch this week. Who knows what could happen next week after the stitches are removed and we just keep moving forward."
(on what caused the scar tissue) "I think it was just from an old injury. I've had problems with feeling pain behind my knee before. After talking to the doctor's assistant, he asked me did I ever have an old injury before and he was telling me, that's what he thinks the scarring was coming from, came from an old injury because it had actually built up. It was a pretty big lump of it."
(on if there will be significant benefits to the procedure beyond repairing the leg) "Yeah, it bothered me a little bit during training camp. Then it went away. Then it came back again and I went down in the game against Pittsburgh. Like I said, I'm just glad that it's over with, it's fixed and I can move on."
(on if this is the best the Texans have been prepared to play without him) "I just think that our team as a whole, the whole attitude of the team is totally different than it used to be. Of course, you don't want to lose anybody, but at the same time, we know what's at stake for our team. Guys are going to go out and get the job done. It'll be hard watching on the sidelines Sunday, but like I said, I'm going to do everything I can to hurry up and get back out on the field."
(on if he will be back two weeks from now) "I don't know. That just depends on how I feel once the stitches come out."
(on what the doctor told him) "Well, he told me once the stitches come out, I can just go for it. I think I'm a fast healer."
(on when the stitches will come out) "They're going to check on them in like five days, so we'll see from there."
(on if he can't run until the stitches are out) "No, I can turn up my treatment a little bit more starting Monday, so I'll be going a little bit harder Monday. We'll see what they have for me when I get in on Monday."
OLB Mario Williams(on what he sees against the Raiders) "A run game."
(on if the Raiders are a good running challenge for them) "Oh yeah, definitely. They got one of the best backs in the League running the ball, so we got to bring our 'A' game and stop the run."
(on the defense's performance against the Steelers) "We definitely got a lot of growing to do. We can get better, so we just got to keep working at it and fix our mistakes that we've had and just get after it."
(on DE Antonio Smith's performance this season) "He's great man. He's a ninja. That's what ninjas do."
(on why DE Antonio Smith is playing so well) "Because he's the only ninja in the NFL. Nobody's stopping the ninja if you're the only one."
(on if he's pleased with how the defense has progressed this season) "Just repetitions, just trying to become more comfortable with everything and just let it go. Just believe in the system and it works."
(on RB Darren McFadden) "Like I said, he's a top rusher in the League right now, so we got to stop him. He's a big guy, fast. We just got to get to him and close up the holes and bring him down."
(on how he's playing right now) "There's always room for improvement. I definitely got to get better. I just want to focus on one day at a time and just try to get better."