Arian Foster practices for Texans

Updated: September 14, 2011, 9:33 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Houston running back Arian Foster returned to practice Wednesday after missing the season opener because of a left hamstring injury.

Coach Gary Kubiak said Foster took the normal repetitions for a starter in the workout.

[+] EnlargeArian Foster
AP Photo/Eric GayArian Foster, who spent Week 1 inactive with a lingering hamstring injury, took a starter's share of the reps at practice Wednesday.

"I guess the key probably is how he comes out of practice (Thursday)," Kubiak said. "Does he feel good? But everything was positive today at practice, so we'll see."

Kubiak was encouraged by how Foster looked in his return Wednesday.

"I think it's about him getting his confidence back and just cutting it loose," he said. "I just told him to be smart today, but he's on top of his stuff."

Foster was happy to get back on the field after dealing with the injury for so long.

"It felt good," he said. "It was pretty fluid, but you've got to ease along hamstring injuries, so I'm just going to take it day by day and see how I feel."

Foster, who ran for 1,616 yards last season to lead the league, has been bothered with the injury for a month. He believes the time off has helped, but he wasn't prepared to say he'd definitely be ready to play Sunday.

"That's the plan, but you never know with hamstring injuries," he said. "They're tricky man, sometimes they sneak up on you."

Foster's teammates were excited to have him back.

"Arian is a big part of our offense and it would be great to have him out there," Andre Johnson said. "He looked good today on the carries that he got, so hopefully as the week goes on he'll keep getting better and we can have him out there on Sunday."

If Foster is able to play at Miami, Kubiak says he wouldn't expect any limitations on how he is used.

"If he can play, you play. There won't be being careful with him," Kubiak said. "You may say this is how many times he's going to touch it, but you can't do something half speed out there. We'd have to see, but if he's ready to go, he puts us at our best and he'll be out there."

The Texans are also dealing with an injury to backup Derrick Ward, who started last Sunday. Ward didn't practice Wednesday because of a sprained right ankle and was wearing a walking boot.

If Foster and Ward are both still out Sunday, the Texans could use Ben Tate, who ran for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Colts after missing all of his rookie season last year with a broken ankle.

Along with Ward, receiver Kevin Walter also missed practice with an injured left shoulder. Kubiak didn't have a timetable for his return, but said his shoulder was "badly bruised."

Notes

The Texans signed receiver David Anderson and released defensive end Tim Bulman on Wednesday.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press