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Houston Texans

Robinson set to return to starting lineup


Cornerback Dunta Robinson is poised to start this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, five weeks after returning from career-threatening knee and hamstring injuries on Oct. 19 against the Detroit Lions.

Robinson hasn't been in the starting lineup since last Nov. 4 at Oakland, the game in which he tore his right ACL and ripped his hamstring off the bone on the same leg in a collision with a teammate. In five games this season, he has 18 tackles, an interception and three pass deflections while taking most of his snaps as a nickel back.

"If everything goes how it has this week (in practice), then Dunta will go back outside and start this weekend," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We'll see how he practices tomorrow, but all systems look like they're go. He played 70 plays last week with no problems coming out of the game, so that's a big positive."

Robinson is in the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2004, when he was the 10th overall selection in the NFL Draft out of the University of South Carolina. He started all 57 games in his career before being injured at Oakland.

"Let's face it: This six weeks is important to him and where he's at in his career," Kubiak said. "He feels like he's ready to go back out there and do the things he's done before, so I'm ready to see him do it."

{QUOTE}The Texans' career interceptions leader with 12, Robinson hopes to use the final six games of the season to show Texans coaches that he's still a number one corner. He isn't deterred by the fact that his knee bothers him on occasion and that he often wakes up with soreness.

"I'm not 100 percent, but with that being said, I'm still better than most of the corners in this game," he said. "The 100 percent, that won't come until probably the offseason. But I'm still well enough to go out and play and go out and produce and go out and give my team all that I have."

Against Cleveland, Robinson said that he will play at right cornerback, his preferred position, and move inside to nickel on third downs. If Robinson does start, Fred Bennett and Jacques Reeves would likely compete for the starting spot at left corner.

"I go back and think of where I was last year at this time, I was in the hospital," Robinson said. "I was in a training facility trying to get my knee correct. So it's been a long journey. It was well worth it.

"This is what you hope for once you rehab so vigorously. You hope to be back to where you started, and I'm back at that point. Now, I just have to show people that I'm the player that I was once."

Robinson's teammates called his comeback "inspirational" after watching the hard-hitting cornerback, one of the Texans defense's emotional leaders, work through nearly a full year of rehab after his injuries.

"He's made his progression back to where he's supposed to be, a starting corner for us," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "To have an injury where a lot of people thought that his career ended or he wasn't going to come back, a lot of people telling him he can't do this, he wasn't going to be able to do that, he's made a believer out of a lot of people.

"It just shows his toughness, the way he's rehabbed himself and gotten himself back in to where he can be a starter again. That's awesome for Dunta, and we're all excited for him. It gives everybody a boost."

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