Kubiak: Texans must 'pick it up' with star WR Johnson injured

HOUSTON -- The Texans believe they're well-equipped for life without Andre Johnson.

The All-Pro wide receiver will miss Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders and an unspecified amount of time after having a minor procedure to repair a right hamstring injury.

Coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans will be "missing a heck of a player" against the Raiders, but he's confident there is enough offensive firepower for the team to make due.

"When Andre's on your team, everybody tries to take him away," Kubiak said Wednesday. "Like I said, we can't replace Andre. We've got to, as a group, try to replace all the production that he adds on the field. That means everybody's got to pick it up, and we'll have a chance to prove it."

Johnson was hurt during the second quarter of Sunday's 17-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kubiak wouldn't put a timetable on Johnson's return after Tuesday's procedure, but the coach said "everything went well."

Johnson leads the Texans with 25 catches for 352 yards, but the team can rely on several other playmakers to distribute the load.

Jacoby Jones will move into Johnson's position Sunday, and Kevin Walter and free-agent pickup Bryant Johnson will move up the depth chart. Tight end Owen Daniels is the Texans' second-leading receiver, and fullback James Casey also has contributed this season.

Houston also can turn to Arian Foster, the NFL's leading rusher last season. Foster took over the offense when Johnson was injured, carrying 30 times for 155 yards and the winning touchdown against the Steelers.

Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said teams shouldn't automatically assume that Johnson's injury makes Houston more of a run-oriented team. He said playing without Johnson doesn't limit the number of plays available to the offense.

"I think, if anything, it will distribute the ball more because he (Andre) gets open all the time," Dennison said.

Houston also might be without backup running backs Ben Tate (groin) and Derrick Ward (sprained right ankle) against Oakland. Tate and Ward both sat out practice Wednesday, but Kubiak was hopeful that Tate would be ready by Sunday.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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