Almost five months removed from tearing his left Achilles tendon in the playoffs against the New England Patriots, DeVier Posey is nearing a return to the field.
Posey won't be practicing anytime soon, and he could start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He said Monday that he's eyeing a return in September or October, but he expects to be able to do on-field rehabilitation with the Texans' training staff next week.
A 2012 third-round draft pick from Ohio State, Posey has been running an AlterG, a specialized air-supported treadmill that allows users to run at a percentage of their body weight.
"I think I'm as far along as I can be," Posey said. "I've been running well in there, been sprinting, getting up to about 12 miles per hour. It's been pretty good, man. I like the progression that I'm going in as far as like strength goes. Right now, it's about mentally just getting prepared.
"It's been a long year for me since the Patriots game, just being around here rehabbing, in the wheelchair to a scooter to crutches to a walking boot to finally getting in a shoe. I can't sleep at night; I think about football all the time. Just to be able to get back out here and smell the grass and run and get that good sweat in, it's gonna be awesome."
Posey emerged late last season to become the Texans' third wide receiver. He was in position to push for a starting job in 2013 before his Achilles injury on Jan. 13. But he said that his senior season in college, in which he was suspended for 10 games by the NCAA, prepared him for his current situation.
"Back then, I wasn't allowed to play because of the rules, but this time I can't physically play," Posey said. "So preparation-wise, I know what I'm doing. I'm not just sitting around and just watching. I'm preparing like I'm going out to practice every day. I'm sitting in meetings taking notes like I'm a rookie again, just re-learning everything just trying to get it all in. It's been really important to me. I'm a part of this team; I'm just hurt right now. And I'll be back out there at some point, so to be able to be on top of things is important right now."
Posey was a fixture at every OTA practice, helping the Texans' wide receivers coaches in drills, talking to his teammates on the sidelines and catching passes from a JUGS machine after each session.
"He's doing great, but he can only do so much," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's doing everything he can do. The old 'ahead of schedule,' that applies here. But remember, we're making a decision on him at the end of camp because of the PUP and those type of things. He's doing everything he can. He's going to come back and he's going to play for us next year – how early is the question."