Texans linebacker Brian Cushing returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a sore foot. Wide receiver Andre Johnson missed practice for the second consecutive day to rest his sprained right ankle.
"We'll see where Andre's at tomorrow," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "It'll probably still be a game-time decision. I don't think he'll do much (Friday)."
Asked if he was more concerned about Johnson's availability than in previous weeks, Kubiak said, "I'd say it's the same at this point today." Johnson has been injured since Week 2, but he has played in every game except for the Texans' Week 4 trip to Oakland.
Chasing 1,500Johnson needs 284 yards in the final two games to become the first receiver in NFL history with 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons. He had 1,575 in 2008 and 1,569 in 2009, and he has 1,216 so far in 2010.
"It would mean a lot," Kubiak said. "It is something that I thought about, and I know it would be important to him, throughout the season. I'll be honest with you, seven or eight weeks ago, I didn't think there was a chance in hell in where he was with his foot and the time he had missed. Yet he continued to play well and have big days. It would mean a great deal, but at the same time, we've got to be smart in what we're doing with him. So I'll strictly listen to him, but it has been on our mind."
Johnson and Marvin Harrison (2001-02) are the only receivers with 1,500 yards in two consecutive seasons.
"Like I've said before, I'd rather be playing to go to the playoffs, having something like that happen, than to be worried about getting to 1,500 yards," Johnson said. "But of course you would love for it to happen."
Sharpton standing outOn Monday, Kubiak said that rookie linebacker Darryl Sharpton played as well as anybody on the team in Week 15. A fourth-round pick from Miami (Fla.), Sharpton has started the last five games at weakside linebacker.
"He got a chance to play and kept getting better and better," Kubiak said on Thursday. "Last week, it was so impressive what he did. The whole team watched the film together. He's a guy that's proven every week that he belongs here. He's getting better. We are giving a chance to lead a little bit more in these last two weeks. I'm very impressed with what's happening... He's a downhill, physical player."
All-Pro OwenAfter missing five games with a hamstring injury, tight end Owen Daniels has nine catches for 136 yards in the last two weeks. The 2008 Pro Bowler could be headed for a strong finish to the season.
"He's back," Kubiak said. "He was mad at me for about five or six weeks when we went through that situation when we sat him. I thought it was best for his career moving forward. So he's got a smile back on his face. He's played like Owen Daniels these last two weeks. He'll be back, and he'll be an All-Pro. I've been very impressed with the job the training staff has done with him. It's been hard on him, but we did the right thing by him and he'll benefit from it."
Surgery for MarioDefensive end Mario Williams had surgery on Tuesday to repair the sports hernia that landed him on injured reserve on Dec. 15.
"He was actually out here today walking around," Kubiak said. "He flew back here yesterday and had some pretty extensive work done on both sides. He's not feeling very good and has got a long road back. (But) it was done, and to my understanding, done well and successfully."
Williams, who had a streak of 77 consecutive starts snapped by the injury, had 8.5 sacks in 13 games this season.