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Rapid-recovering Brisiel expected to start


Starting right guard Mike Brisiel continued his rapid recovery from a fractured fibula on Wednesday, practicing for the second consecutive day.

It sounds all but certain that Brisiel will return to the Texans' lineup to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, less than a month after having surgery on Dec. 12.

"He's good," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's better today. I talked to y'all yesterday about how we like to play at the end of games, whether it's (a) 70/30, 60/40 (split with Antoine Caldwell) or whatever.

"We'd like to play them both, but all indications are through the first two days of practice that Mike will be ready to start and carry his load. Barring any setbacks tomorrow, that's the way we will go."

Brisiel was injured in Week 14 in the first half of the Texans' 20-19 victory at Cincinnati. He played the entire second half with a broken leg. He had surgery the next day and missed the final three games of the regular season.

"It's crazy to me to see him out there full practice today doing one-on-ones and everything, and he's only, what, three weeks out of surgery," center Chris Myers said on Tuesday. "It's crazy. It's amazing to see guys come back with that determination."

Texans free safety Danieal Manning recovered from the same injury and surgery earlier this season. He fractured his fibula in Week 7 at Tennessee, missed the next three games and returned in Week 12 after the Texans' bye week.

Brisiel, a fourth-year veteran, started 13 games this season as the Texans finished second in the NFL in rushing. He started all 16 games in 2010 along with Myers, left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Wade Smith and right tackle Eric Winston.

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