Johnathan Joseph returns to Houston Texans healthy


The Houston Texans' falloff on defense in the second half of last season understandably was blamed on Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing's torn anterior cruciate ligament, but there was another significant injury that contributed to the pass defense falling from third in 2011 to 16th in 2012.

After an All-Pro season shadowing No. 1 wide receivers in 2011, cornerback Johnathan Joseph struggled in coverage for parts of October, November and December while playing with groin and hamstring injuries. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller Chad Henne combined for an astounding 795 yards and six touchdowns in two games after Joseph was knocked out of the lineup in Week 11.

As it turns out, Joseph was battling a pair of sports hernias in addition to the groin and hamstring issues.

"I had both those (sports hernias) fixed," Joseph said recently, via Comcast SportsNet Houston. "Now I have more pop, more explosion with my legs. I can run all day again."

Joseph gave no details on the "fixes," but it can be inferred that he underwent offseason surgery to repair both sports hernias. To hear Joseph tell it, he's already back to 100 percent.

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"I'm just glad to have it behind me," Joseph said. "I'm feeling better than I've ever felt. ... And I'm having probably the best OTAs (organized team activities) I've had in four or five years."

With both Cushing and Joseph returning to form, the Texans' defense has a chance to return to early-2012 dominance when it allowed 17 points or fewer in four of the first five games of the season.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.