Hilton had been out since suffering a disk injury during practice late in training camp. The injury was severe enough that Hilton contemplated retirement, including having a conversation with former teammate Andrew Luck, who retired in 2019.
"The first two days out of surgery, I didn't think I'd be back, man, to be honest with you," Hilton said this week. "It was just painful, it was very painful. I hope nobody has to go through that at all. It sucks, especially not being able to play the game that I love after being in training camp so long with my team grinding and being so happy. God is good."
Durability had always been a strong suit of Hilton's since the Colts selected him in 2012. He had missed only 11 games in his first nine seasons in the league.
"Woke up Week 1 and I was there mentally, but physically I wasn't," Hilton said. "I just woke up crying -- just nothing physically I could do to be out there. As an athlete, just playing this game, it's just something your body feels like on game day. Only athletes will understand what I'm saying, but it's just crazy. It hurt me, it hurt me a lot not being able to be out there, especially for these five weeks that I missed."
Hilton, who has five seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, gives quarterback Carson Wentz another option in the offense for the Colts (1-4).
The Texans are the perfect opponent for Hilton to return against because of his success against them in his career. He has seven games of at least 100 yards, including one of more than 200 yards, against the Texans.
"Rumor has been he's been pretty good in this rivalry over the years," Wentz said, jokingly.
The Colts also elevated kicker Michael Badgley to the active roster from the practice squad since kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is out with a hip injury suffered during warm-ups of their Week 5 overtime loss at Baltimore.