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Arian Foster practices, off Houston Texans' PUP list

The long-lost Arian Foster is back in the fold.

The Houston Texans running back was activated off the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, the first ray of sunshine in a frustrating offseason for the All-Pro ball carrier.

"He went back to work today," coach Gary Kubiak told reporters, per the Texans' official website.

Foster was a participant in drills, but Kubiak said his bell cow isn't likely to play in Houston's dress rehearsal against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Kubiak said he doesn't believe it's necessary for Foster to take snaps before the Sept. 9 season opener against the San Diego Chargers.

Foster had been shelved all summer with a calf injury that, more recently, morphed into a back issue. He was expected to practice Monday, but he remained sidelined because of complications stemming from injections to alleviate his back pain.

In Foster's absence, Ben Tate has worked with the first team and remains slated to start versus the Saints. Behind the duo, Houston's backfield is paper thin.

Foster's 351 regular-season carries in 2012 were the most by any runner over the past three years, and it's fair to wonder if the monster workload has chipped away at his health. It's probably time for Houston to think about spreading the wealth, even with its lead horse back on the field.

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