WR Johnson out with hamstring injury
HOUSTON—Houston All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson will miss Sunday's game against Oakland and an unspecified amount of time after a minor procedure to repair a right hamstring injury.
Coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans would be "missing a heck of a player" against the Raiders, but would not put a timetable on Johnson's return after Tuesday's procedure.
"All the information we're getting moving forward is very positive," Kubiak said Wednesday. "We're not putting any timeline on anything right now. We just know everything went well. The doctor feels good about it, Andre feels good about it."
Johnson went down in the second quarter of Sunday's 17-10 win over Pittsburgh. He rejoined his team on the sideline in the fourth quarter, without crutches.
"We're going to miss him for a period of time," Kubiak said. "We're going to have to have some guys step up and play well."
The Texans (3-1) host Oakland (2-2) this weekend, playing with confidence and momentum, at least until now.
The 6-foot-3, 226-pound Johnson missed three games last year with a sprained right ankle, including a 31-24 win over the Raiders. The five-time Pro Bowl selection sat out seven games in 2007 with a left knee injury that required offseason surgery and the Texans went 2-5 without him.
Kubiak said he believes his team is better equipped to handle Johnson's injury this time. Jacoby Jones will move into Johnson's position, and Kevin Walter and free-agent pickup Bryant Johnson move up the depth chart.
The Texans can also turn to Arian Foster, the NFL's leading rusher last season. Foster took over the offense after Johnson was hurt on Sunday, carrying 30 times for 155 yards and the game-winning touchdown against the Steelers in the final quarter.
Johnson's absence should also create more opportunities for tight end Owen Daniels, who caught two passes in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh, and fullback James Casey, who had five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown in a 40-33 loss to New Orleans the previous week.
"We're probably going to get played a little differently," Kubiak said. "When Andre's on your team, everybody tries to take him away. Like I said, we can't replace Andre. We've got to, as a group, try to replace all the production that he adds on the field. That means everybody's got to pick it up, and we'll have a chance to prove it."
Houston may also be without running backs Ben Tate (groin) and Derrick Ward (sprained right ankle) against the Raiders. Foster's backups. Tate and Ward both sat out practice on Wednesday, but Kubiak was hopeful that Tate would be ready to play on Sunday.