The beginning of the Texans offseason conditioning program this week gave Robinson a chance to share a field with his teammates for the first time since surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and injured hamstring. He wasn't able to join the team for drills though, and was off to the side with a trainer and other injured players continuing his rehabilitation.
"I feel like an outcast, like I'm on the outside looking in," he said Thursday. "I just want to be out here so bad. I want to run around with the guys. Those are the things that push me a little bit harder to get back."
His injury occurred in a game when a 281-pound teammate ran into the much smaller Robinson from behind in an attempt to make the tackle, twisting his right leg awkwardly. Along with the ACL tear, doctors said his hamstring was torn off the bone.
He isn't sure of an exact timetable for his return, but feels like he's ahead of schedule.
"When I was laying on that (training) table a couple of months ago, I never thought I'd be out here running around in April the way I am now," he said. "It feels good but I can't get ahead of myself. There's still a lot of work to be done."
Though the expectation is that the fifth-year player won't return until midseason, coach Gary Kubiak wouldn't be surprised if he made it back sooner.
"He's very determined to get there quicker than people think he can," Kubiak said. "You never know. He's a worker."
Robinson has developed into one of the top young cornerbacks in the league and is a leader on Houston's defense. He had 34 tackles and two interceptions before his injury last season after starting every game in the first three years.
Quarterback Matt Schaub also was back at work this week. He missed the last four games of the season with a dislocated shoulder and had surgery in early January to repair the problem.
He hasn't recovered completely, but should not miss any time in minicamp or training camp. He's looking to build on his first season as a starter after spending the first three years of his career as a backup in Atlanta.
The 26-year-old threw for 2,241 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions in 11 games last season.
"I want to be out there with my guys and get to the playoffs," Schaub said. "We made a lot of strides last year and we just want to take that next step."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press