Texans' Manning could return Sunday

Much has been made of the Texans’ play without defensive end Mario Williams and receiver Andre Johnson.

Much is being made about how they’ll fare without Matt Schaub.

Danieal Manning’s kind of been lost among those big names. But the safety was a big part of the improved defense up until he suffered a fractured tibia on Oct. 23 against the Titans in Nashville.

“Surprises?” Gary Kubiak said when the Texans reconvened after their bye Monday. “Yeah, Danieal Manning practiced today with the team. It’s amazing how far this young man has come. If he doesn’t have any setbacks throughout the week, he should have a great opportunity to be available this weekend. So we’ll see how it goes.”

That would be quite a recovery.

The Texans might want to forcibly slow Manning down. The Jaguars have the NFL’s least threatening pass offense, and Troy Nolan’s been a pretty solid substitute.

He could surely play winning football Sunday in Jacksonville, and Manning could return Dec. 4 for a much tougher game against the Atlanta Falcons and Reliant Stadium.

As for Johnson, Kubiak said all systems are go for his return from a hamstring injury he suffered Oct. 2 against the Steelers.