Wednesday notebook: Johnson says he'll play, Jones optimistic


Injured Texans wide receivers Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones are both optimistic about their chances of playing in Week 6.

Scratch that.

Johnson, who has been bothered by a high-ankle sprain but played against the Giants last Sunday, is more than optimistic. He's sure.

"I'm fine; pretty much the same as last week," Johnson said Wednesday. "I practiced today, went out and felt pretty good. I'm still doing rehab and stuff trying to keep my ankle strong and whatnot, but I'll be out there playing on Sunday."

Johnson was limited in practice on Wednesday. He wore an ankle brace, as he did on Sunday when he had five catches for 95 yards against New York.

"It definitely affects me a little bit when I'm trying to cut and things like that because the brace keeps your ankle very stable, so it's something I've been trying to get used to," he said. "But other than that, as far as me running, my speed or anything, it doesn't limit me in any way."

Jones-ing to play
Jones, who was inactive in Week 5 with a calf injury, was a little more guarded in his optimism about playing against the Chiefs. He didn't participate in practice Wednesday but did run on the side, which Texans coach Gary Kubiak called "encouraging."

"I'm like Wolverine, man," Jones said. "Scale of 1-10, it's off the scale. It feels that much better (this week)… I'm going to get out there tomorrow again and run on it and see what it feels like, and hopefully I'll get the green light."

After being asked if he is expecting to play on Sunday, Jones said, "I'm hoping. That's what I'm pushing for."

Long list of injuries
Asked about injuries after practice, Kubiak joked by asking the media how much time they had.

He then reeled off a list of injured players who didn't participate in practice: defensive end Mario Williams (shoulder), linebacker DeMeco Ryans (groin), linebacker Brian Cushing (knee), cornerback Sherrick McManis (hamstring), Jones, linebacker Kevin Bentley (knee), guard Mike Brisiel (knee) and wide receiver Dorin Dickerson (knee).

"A lot of those guys I just mentioned are guys that are playing the 70 snaps a game," Kubiak said. "We'll see where we're at tomorrow, but I thought it made sense today to just give them a break and get them as healthy as I can."

Defensive end Jesse Nading (knee) was ruled out of this week's game.

Improvement needed
The Texans' normally dynamic special teams unit has struggled on kickoff returns this season. With running back Steve Slaton as the primary kick returner, the team's longest kick return has been 33 yards. The Texans are averaging 19.0 yards per return, which ranks 29th in the league.

"I'm not happy with kick returns," Kubiak said. "It's been very poor. Are we going to change returners or anything? No. We need to block better. We need to return better. We all need to do something better, but it hasn't been good enough. It has hurt us."

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