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Saturday, August 23, 2008
Game takes backseat in Texans' locker room

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- Moments after failing to convert on a two-point conversion and losing an exhibition game to the Cowboys, the Texans had something more important on their minds. Early in the first quarter, Harry Williams, a player fighting to make the roster, collided with teammate Nick Ferguson while covering a kickoff.

Every Texans player left the bench area to stand on the field with Williams as medical personnel worked on his motionless body. It wasn't until he was put in an ambulance that he started to regain feeling in his hands and feet.

Before he left the field, he'd looked up at head coach Gary Kubiak and said, "Win the game for me."

But speaking outside the visiting locker room, Kubiak didn't seem overly concerned about a 23-22 loss.

"Harry's doing well," he said. "There's feeling throughout his body. All the feedback is that Harry's going to be fine."

Kubiak said he could tell that the injury took some of his team's emotion away, but it's not like he was complaining.

"They love that kid," he said. "He was earning his way onto the special teams."

Starting right tackle Eric Winston said it was almost impossible to keep playing once Williams left the field.

"It's a tough thing to shake off and keep playing," Winston said. "I didn't know who it was [at first]. And you hate it that it was a guy like Harry. He's been battling his tail off to make the team. He was doing everything he should've been doing."

Winston talked about how many injuries have taken place on kickoffs over the last few years and wonders if there's something the league could do to prevent them.

"Guys are getting bigger, stronger, faster," he said. "You have offensive linemen and defensive linemen that are 6-6, 330 going against guys that run 4.5 [in the 40-yard dash]. It's tough to take."

It's never a good sign when the team doctor is brought to the interview room, but orthopedic surgeon Dr. Walter Lowe sounded relieved after the game. He had stayed right next to Williams' head throughout the entire ordeal.

"He was paralyzed on the field," Lowe said.

He described Williams' neurological function as "almost normal" and said he would undergo surgery to fuse his spine this weekend. Cowboys team doctor Drew Dossett, one of the nation's top spine specialists, will perform the surgery. Lowe said Williams had a "small fracture in his C-3". Dossett was headed to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to visit with Williams immediately after the game.

"He's just a trouper," Lowe said of Williams.

I've known Dossett for several years and Texans fans should know that Williams is in good hands. Back with some thoughts on the game in a few moments.