Reed questionable, but will start if he plays

HOUSTON – Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak made his strongest statement to date about Ed Reed's health Friday.

“If Ed is ready to go, Ed would start, yes,” Kubiak said of the veteran safety, who's recovering from offseason hip surgery.

Reed, left tackle Duane Brown (toe) and tight end Garrett Graham (hip/groin) were listed as questionable on the Texans’ injury report. The most notable appearance on the Ravens’ injury report was running back Ray Rice (hip), who was listed as doubtful ahead of the teams' meeting Sunday in Baltimore.

In weeks past, Kubiak has indicated that if Reed plays, he will take a situational role in at least his first game back, with Shiloh Keo the Texans’ starter. Thus, he's announced Keo as the starter before announcing Reed's status.

"Yeah, that’s where we’re working," Kubiak said last Thursday when asked if Reed would start or be worked back into the lineup. "From a football standpoint, he’s two weeks into it. He’s really had two weeks, maybe a couple of extra days of football. He’s right there, going into his first preseason game this week, so to speak, in a lot of ways. I think the question right now is when is he ready for those first 25-30 plays? That’s what we’re trying to make a decision on, but he’s making good progress. I just think we’ve got to keep going and keep preparing the way we’re preparing and, when we get there, it will be a big plus."

This week came with no such disclaimer -- and no announcement of Keo as the starter.

"We feel good about today," Kubiak said Friday. "The biggest thing, as I keep telling y’all, is how he comes out of practices. Is he sore? Stuff like that. He came out of yesterday really good. We’ll see how we did today."

A sign of progress.