Two days after their 30-17 loss to the Colts, the Texans returned to practice to begin preparing for a Week 9 visit from the San Diego Chargers.
Four players did not practice: wide receiver Andre Johnson (ankle), defensive end Mario Williams (hip), tight end Owen Daniels (hamstring) and linebacker Xavier Adibi (hamstring).
Daniels and Adibi were not even at practice, instead receiving treatment on their respective injuries. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said both are day-to-day.
Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle) and defensive end Jesse Nading (knee) were limited in practice. It was the first practice for both players since before the Texans' Week 6 bye.
'Caught up in the turf'
Johnson tweaked his sprained right ankle twice in the second half on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium. He came off the field limping late in the fourth quarter but returned a few plays later.
"He's not any worse coming into this week," Kubiak said. "We'll stay with our plan. Hopefully he does a little bit more tomorrow. It's probably going to be that way for a while unless he can get through two or three weeks clean. He did the expected today, which was nothing."
Johnson did not seem concerned about the injury after practice.
"I'm feeling pretty good; nothing damaging from the game," he said. "I could have went out and practiced today if I had to. They just wanted me to stay off of it… My ankle still feels the same."
Since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 at Washington, Johnson has missed only one game (Week 4 at Oakland). He wears a flexible brace on the ankle that allows him to play without much discomfort.
"Because I'm playing through an injury, at times I'm going to feel a little pain here and there," he said. "In the game Monday night, it just got caught up in the turf. The turf doesn't give as much as the grass does. It got caught up in the turf two times and I felt a little pain and sat out for a play or two and came back in. I haven't done anything worse or anything like that to it."
Turnovers, pleaseThe Texans have forced only six turnovers this season, which is tied with the winless Buffalo Bills for the lowest total in the NFL.
"We've got to talk about them and work on them," Kubiak said. "It has been a point of emphasis all day through practice with stripping the ball. We need to find a way to make some more impact plays as a football team. Defensively stripping the ball, big plays on offense and big plays on defense, we are missing those right now. We are way behind from that standpoint."
The Chargers have 19 turnovers this season, a big reason why they're 3-5 despite having the league's top-ranked offense and defense. Only three teams have more giveaways.
Welcome returnChargers kicker Nate Kaeding missed practice on Wednesday because of a groin injury, which means that former Texan Kris Brown has a good chance of kicking for San Diego on Sunday.
Brown was the only kicker in Texans history until Neil Rackers won the job this year in an offseason competition. He has done well in relief of Kaeding in the last two games, converting 4-of-5 field goal attempts.
"Kris is a great young man and a heck of a kicker," Kubiak said. "I know it didn't work out this year, but I'm glad to see him get an opportunity and he's getting an opportunity with a heck of a football team. I wish him all the best, him and his family. He deserved that opportunity, and I'm glad to see him get it."