Houston Texans Training Camp: Brian Cushing Returns, Case Keenum Set To Debut Vs. San Francisco

Brian Cushing was rushed to the hospital when he became ill Tuesday night. Cushing missed practice on Wednesday and there is no word on his status for Saturday's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.

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J.J. Watt Injury: Sound From Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak

The news came out Thursday morning that Texans second year star defensive end J.J. Watt hurt his elbow and had to leave practice. On the heels of fellow stars Andre Johnson and Duane Brown getting hurt earlier in the week, many Texans fans were about ready to jump out of the window. After seeing the promise of last year dashed with numerous key injuries, to have this season start off the same way was extremely deflating. Fortunately, just like the injuries to Johnson and Brown, the dislocated elbow of J.J. Watt is not expected to keep him out of any regular season games.

It will however keep him out of most, if not all of the rest of training camp and pre-season which is huge for a player in his second season. However, the Texans have much better depth on the defensive line than they do at other positions like quarterback and wide receiver so it won't hurt the team in the short term. For now it appears Tim Jamison will take over Watt's position but I expect and hope to see 4th round rookie draft pick Jared Crick get a shot as well. Crick looked like a 1st round pick, almost a clone of Watt before an injury hurt his draft stock during his senior season.

Sound From Practice:

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Twitter: @sackedbybmac

For More On The Texans, Check Out The Battle Red Blog!

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J.J. Watt Injury: Houston Texans Watch Another Player Go Down At Training Camp

Another Texans player was injured at training camp practice on Thursday. Defensive end J.J. Watt left the morning practice with an undisclosed elbow injury. "Undisclosed" is what the Texans went with since they don't know exactly what the diagnosis is, but Watt is likely to have his elbow X-rayed.

Apparently Watt got his arm tangled up with other players at the end of a running play, something normal and expected at his position. Watt was taken to the training room via cart, but also had trouble dealing with the heat on Thursday, as Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle reported.

This is the third star player this week to go down with an injury during training camp. Andre Johnson is expected back early next week after suffering a pulled groin. Left tackle Duane Brown injured his lower leg, what appeared to be his ankle, at Wednesday's practice. Brown is expected to return to practice soon.

But for a team with such high hopes, every little bruise that keeps a key guy off the field is going to be cause for concern.

Read more on the Texans at the Battle Red Blog and SB Nation Houston.

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Matt Schaub: Super Bowl Or Bust For Houston Texans

For all the conversation about what the Texans are going to do at wide receiver if Andre Johnson suffers another injury-after-injury kind of season, it's pretty clear in Houston that Super Bowl talks are out the window if Matt Schaub doesn't stay healthy.

No one on the team is actually saying as much, but the Texans could've been an experienced starting quarterback away from their first ever AFC Championship game in the same season they made their first ever playoff appearance in 2011. Head coach Gary Kubiak says the Texans needs Schaub to "stay healthy and continue to push this team to another level."

Here's what Schaub had to say about his expectations for the season:

"With the pieces that we have in this locker room and the guys that we have, anything less won't be getting the job done. We took the next step as a team and the only next step after that is to get to the Super Bowl and win it. So anything short of that will be a disappointment in our eyes."

Read more on the Texans at the Battle Red Blog and SB Nation Houston. Be sure to subscribe to the Youtube Channel for video commentary.

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Duane Brown Injury Update: Texans Star Tackle Likely To Miss Practices At Training Camp

Texans fans took another deep breath when the news surfaced Wednesday of Duane Brown's lower leg injury at training camp. Brown bruised what appeared to be his ankle in the morning session of Wednesday's practice.

According to John McClain, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said following the afternoon practice that Brown would have to miss a couple of practices due to the bruised "lower leg" injury, but there doesn't appear to be an official timetable for his return.

This was particularly concerning for the Texans because of their history with injuries, with a lot of their key players missing out on last season's playoff run - the first in franchise history.

Andre Johnson went down with a groin injury earlier in the week and Kubiak said on Tuesday that he hopes to have the star wide receiver back by Monday.

But as for Brown, he seems to be as light as a big fella can be when he's going to be sitting through a few practices. Like Johnson, players of Brown's caliber are able to deal with minor injuries, so he should be fine if that's what this is.

He even tweets so.

Read more on the Texans at the Battle Red Blog and SB Nation Houston.

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Andre Johnson Injury Update: Gary Kubiak Expects Return To Texans Training Camp Next Week

Every time Andre Johnson goes down with an injury (which has been often over the past year or so) it gets micro-analyzed by everyone, even if he goes down on the second day of training camp. To be clear, Johnson has had the kind of career that indicates he doesn't need a lick of training camp to be an impact player once the season starts.

It might even be worth it to the Texans to rest their star wide receiver in camp, but that would be absurd for this lunch pale/hard hat kind of group. Gary Kubiak said on Tuesday that he expects Dre to return to the field next week, and hopefully Monday:

Read more on the Texans at the Battle Red Blog and SB Nation Houston.

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Texans Offseason 2012: Houston Picked To Win AFC South By SB Nation

Everyone can feel the energy in Houston. The anticipation for the Texans season is nothing like it's ever been before. Same goes for the expectation. They're talking Super Bowl around town, in the media, everywhere.

So it should come as no surprise that SB Nation's very own Joel Thorman is picking the Texans to win the AFC South division:

The Texans will repeat in the AFC South because they'll have a healthy Matt Schaub. Think about what they did last year. Schaub only started 10 games -- he went 7-3 -- before suffering a season-ending injury. T.J. Yates, a fifth round rookie, stepped in and led them to the playoffs. Another division title should be expected in Houston.

Read more about the Texans at the Battle Red Blog and SB Nation Houston. Head over to the NFL hub page for additional news and analysis around the league. Also, be sure to subscribe to the SB Nation Youtube Channel for video commentary.

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Matt Schaub Cleared To Practice: I'm Back Baby!

Schaub will be back under center when training camp starts

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Houston Texans Offseason: "Smithiak" Extended

The worst kept secret inside the offices on Kirby was made official; head coach Gary Kubiak and GM Rick Smith were given contract extensions. You may take issue with the merit of the decision, but this news should not come as a surprise. Owner Bob McNair refused to fire Kubiak after 5 consecutive non-playoff seasons; what did you think would happen after not only their first trip to the playoffs, but a playoff win? Also know that McNair hates having coaches in "lame duck" status with only 1 year remaining on their deal. He subscribes to the theory that being in the last year lessens the authority a coach has; I think that belief is overblown, but it's his money. McNair told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:

Stability is very important to me," McNair said after the three-day minicamp ended. "They work very well together. They’re committed to bringing a championship to Houston. That is our goal.

The biggest question/concern I have about this extension is; did Wade Philips actually earn it? In 5 seasons without Philips, Kubiak had a 37-43 record. It begs the question, how does 1 good season outweigh 5 disappointing seasons? The impact that Philips had on this team can't be undersold and I think Kubiak owes Philips an expensive gift for saving his job. Before last season, every active coach that had been in the league for as long as Kubiak, had either made the playoffs multiple times or been fired. What makes Kubiak special or different? In most organizations, I don't think the extensions would have been given, but this isn't most organizations. I don't think it was a horrible decision, but clearly the standard of success has been set lower here than in other organizations.

Of the two, I think Rick Smith's extension was more deserved. Kubiak has an overall losing record, but Smith has had several big drafts, even before Wade Philips. Smith had a good draft in 2008 (Duane Brown & Steve Slaton), and then great drafts in 2009 (Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Glover Quin, James Casey, Brice McCain, & Troy Nolan), and 2011 (J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, T.J. Yates). On top of that, he's signed guys from off the scrap heap like Arian Foster and Wade Smith, and pulled off two huge free-agent deals last off-season with Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning.

Overall, as long as McNair doesn't let the extensions affect future decisions; I don't have a problem with it. What I mean by that, you sometimes hear owners say they can't fire a coach because of the amount of years and money they're still owed and that they don't want to pay two coaches. If the Texans tank and go 4-12 next season (not saying I think that will happen), McNair better not use Kubiak's contract status as a reason to keep him on board. No one forced him into this decision, if he doesn't make future decisions purely on what happens on the field; he'll deserve a ton of criticism. If McNair treats this just as a PR type move like it should be, then this will end up being a nothing story.

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2012 Houston Texans Football And Respect: Vegas Favors AFC South Champs In 10 Games

The line-makers have announced how they feel the Texans will do this season.

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