Kubiak knows nicked-up Texans are lucky

HOUSTON -- For various reason, there is a long list of Texans players who won't play in Friday's opening preseason game.

The reason that troubles Texans coach Gary Kubiak the most is health.

"For a first preseason game this is probably the least amount of guys we've had ready to go," Kubiak said. "That bothers me a little bit, but at the same time we'll definitely get a good evaluation on all of these young players, because they will play such a great deal in this game."

The list starts with Arian Foster who is still on the physically unable to perform list and whom Kubiak expects back next week (though, Kubiak added he also expected him back this week).

Kubiak didn't announce all the specifics of who wouldn't travel, but among the players recovering from injuries are a gaggle of linebackers; starting left guard Wade Smith, who banged his knee Tuesday; rookie offensive tackle Brennan Williams; safety Ed Reed and receiver DeVier Posey, both on PUP; rookie receiver Alan Bonner; undrafted rookie tight end Adam Schiltz; and cornerback Brandon Harris, who has a hip flexor problem.

It has been frustrating for Kubiak, but he thinks to some extent he's been lucky, given the jarring near-daily news of other NFL players tearing anterior cruciate ligaments in training camp.

"It just seems like every year there's more and more, you see big name guys getting hurt early in camp," Kubiak said. "We've had our share of nicks, but the good thing we've got going, we should walk onto the field next week with 10 or 12 guys coming back for Miami, so we can get back close to full strength pretty quick. I guess if it's going to happen, and you're going to play young guys, this is probably the game to do it."

Texans players, especially those who have played for other teams, often rave about the way Kubiak protects veterans' bodies. That could have as much to do with why they've escaped serious training camp injuries as luck.

"To get ready to play you've gotta go out there and hit," Kubiak said. "That's the way the game is played. At the same time, you're sitting there every day trying to coach your guys to practice a certain way that you don't get people injured, and it's usually staying off the ground."