Andre Johnson procedure 'went well'
The All-Pro receiver will miss Sunday's game against Oakland and an unspecified amount of time after a minor procedure to repair a right hamstring injury.
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.” -- Texans coach Gary Kubiak
KRIV-TV in Houston reported Tuesday that Johnson is expected to miss three weeks.
Coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans will be "missing a heck of a player" against the Raiders, but he is confident there is enough offensive firepower to make due.
"When Andre's on your team, everybody tries to take him away," Kubiak said Wednesday. "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."
Johnson was hurt in the second quarter of Sunday's 17-10 win over Pittsburgh. Kubiak he 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. "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."
And the Texans certainly feel better than they have in the past when Johnson's been hurt.
In 2007, the five-time Pro Bowl selection sat out seven games with a left knee injury that required offseason surgery and Houston went 2-5 without him. Last year, Johnson missed three games with a sprained right ankle, and the Texans won twice, including a 31-24 victory in Oakland.
"We've done it before," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "We've played games without him before. So it's just a matter of all of us picking our game up as a group, finding a way to execute our plays."
Johnson leads the Texans with 25 catches for 352 yards, but Houston can rely on several other playmakers to distribute the load. Johnson was not at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday and unavailable for comment.
Jacoby Jones will move into Johnson's position on Sunday, and Kevin Walter and free-agent pickup Bryant Johnson move up the depth chart. Tight end Owen Daniels is the Texans' second-leading receiver and fullback James Casey, a converted tight end, had five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown in a 40-33 loss to New Orleans the previous week.
The 6-foot-2 Jones is one of the fastest players on the team and also returns punts. He caught 10 passes for 185 yards in the two games Johnson missed at the end of the last year. Jones is embracing the increased responsibility that comes with moving into Johnson's position.
"Pressure is what you make it," said Jones, who has seven catches for 91 yards this season. "If you take it as pressure, then it is pressure. If you go about your business, and play football, then you'll be all right."
Walter, meanwhile, is eager to show that he's healthy again after bruising his right collarbone in the opening win against Indianapolis. He missed a game, had three catches against the Saints and did not make a catch against Pittsburgh.
"We get paid, too," Walter said. "We're not slappies out there. We can get the job done. Is he (Andre) one of the best players on this team, and in the league? Yes, absolutely. But we can get it done, too."
Of course, Houston can also turn to Arian Foster, the NFL's leading rusher last season. Foster took over the offense when Johnson was injured, carrying 30 times for 155 yards and the winning touchdown against the Steelers.
We get paid, too. We're not slappies out there. We can get the job done.” -- Texans WR Kevin Walter
on other WRs in Andre Johnson's absence
The Texans (3-1) have already proven they can win without Foster, who was inactive for two of the first three games. Daniels says the challenge of playing without Johnson is similar, starting with the Raiders (2-2).
"Arian's got a special relationship with the offensive line, and special abilities," Daniels said. "Obviously, you could say the same thing about Andre. He makes plays no one else can make."
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison says teams should not automatically assume that Johnson's injury makes the Texans more of a run-oriented team. He said playing without Johnson does not limit the number of plays available to them.
"I think, if anything, it will distribute the ball more because he (Andre) gets open all the time," Dennison said. "We've got some guys that can get open. Hopefully we'll do enough running that they'll have to crowd the line and make plays."
Houston may also be without backup running backs Ben Tate (groin) and Derrick Ward (sprained right ankle) against the Raiders. Tate and Ward both sat out practice on Wednesday, but Kubiak was hopeful that Tate would be ready by Sunday.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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