Texans' Johnson out Sunday, future status remains unclear

HOUSTON -- While speculation has persisted Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans could miss up to five weeks as he recovers from a knee sprain, the only certainty is the wide receiver has ruled out ruled out playing against the Indianapolis Colts this week.

Head coach Gary Kubiak reiterated Thursday the Texans still aren't sure how much time Johnson will miss.

"I think that would definitely be the worst scenario," Kubiak said of the five-week rumor. "I'm very optimistic that a guy like him who is a really hard worker and a well conditioned guy could make it back quicker than the doctors think he can."

Kubiak will wait to see how the other receivers practice before naming a starter opposite of Kevin Walter. Rookie Jacoby Jones, third-year receiver Jerome Mathis and veteran Andre Davis will all see time.

"We're going to play all four of them," Kubiak said. "I'll make a decision tomorrow exactly who's going to start, but we're going to play all four of the kids. We're going to rotate them. It's going to take all of them for us to be successful, but we'll lock in who will be the starters tomorrow."

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Nursing a sprained left knee, wide receiver Andre Johnson walked into the locker room Wednesday with a brace on and addressed his status with the media.

The obvious question: Will he play this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium?

"I don't know," Johnson said in his usual soft-spoken tone. "Right now, looking at it, I probably won't. I'm just trying to get back healthy." More ...

The injury to Johnson is a blow to a team that is 2-0 for the first time and preparing to face the Super Bowl champions. Johnson, who wore a large brace on his injured left knee Wednesday, said he is unsure of when he can return but didn't rule out next week's game.

"I'm taking it day-by-day, week-by-week, and doing everything I can to strengthen my leg so I can be back," he said.

Johnson sprained his knee during the fourth quarter of the Texans 34-21 win over the Panthers on Sunday. He fell awkwardly on the knee after a 10-yard catch and remained on the turf for several minutes. He walked off the field on his own but was limping on the sideline.

An MRI Monday revealed no damage that would require surgery.

Johnson, who has missed three games in his five-year career, said being on the sidelines Sunday will be difficult.

"I'll probably be the team's biggest cheerleader," he said. "I'm going to go out and encourage these guys as much as I can."

Johnson had seven catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. His 262 yards receiving in the first two games rank fourth in the NFL.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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