Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody is on track to return to action on Sunday at Tennessee after missing three consecutive games with injuries. Head coach Gary Kubiak announced Monday that Cody is "back at it" and expected to contribute on defense.
Cody has been battling back and ribs issues since Week 9. After starting 52 of his first 56 games with the Texans, he was relegated to spectator status for the team's Sunday night game at Chicago and overtime victories against Jacksonville and Detroit.
"It's tough, especially playing against Detroit, the team I used to play for," Cody said. "We had our struggles on defense, so hopefully I can get in there and help out."
The Texans recently lost several key defensive players to injury, including outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who will be out for at least a couple weeks with a groin injury. Cody's return is especially significant for defensive ends Antonio Smith and J.J. Watt who, according to Kubiak, have been on the field for a "tremendous amount of plays" lately.
"We've been playing with five guys," Kubiak said. "I think Shaun coming back helps the whole group because now (NT) Earl (Mitchell) can play some end as well as nose. J.J. can get off the field 10 more plays. Antonio can get off the field."
Watt is anxious to have Cody back, and not just because of the load Cody will lift from his back.
"He's a great asset to our team," Watt said. "He's very good in the run game, and it's great to have him out there. And obviously a little comic relief, too, so I'm looking forward to that as always."
Cody shared Watt's excitement for his return in Week 13.
"We have a lot of guys down," he said, "so hopefully I can help out and get back in there and cause a little havoc."