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Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) probable for Colts vs. Texans

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Matt Hasselbeck is on track to start Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts versus the Houston Texans.

The 40-year-old quarterback is listed as probable on the team's injury report with a rib injury.

"Really good. Very, very encouraged," coach Chuck Pagano said of Hasselbeck, via the team's official website. "He had an excellent day yesterday. He's going to play really, really good."

Every game, all season

The signal-caller sat out Wednesday's practice and was limited on Thursday before getting the positive review Friday.

Hasselbeck is dealing with a painful rib separation that has caused trouble with breathing and throwing.

His availability is huge for a Colts squad looking to knock off the Texans to remain atop the AFC South.

Hasselbeck will face a stout Houston defensive front led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Watt (13.5) and Whitney Mercilus (7.5) have combined for 21.0 sacks this season (most among any teammate duo in NFL). Former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney has 4.5 sacks in the past six games.

The Colts offensive line has been shaky all season -- that's putting it nicely -- but starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo (probable) is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last three games. Expect short passes to get the ball out of the banged-up Hasselbeck's hands quickly.

"He's a tough S-O-you know what," Pagano said of Hasselbeck. "We are going to protect our butts off for him."

Charlie Whitehurst (a.k.a. Clipboard Jesus) will be the backup.

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