Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 11/10/11
Indianapolis_colts_v_f1a3
There came a point on Wednesday afternoon when Texans coach Gary Kubiak could have stopped, yet he did not. He kept reading the names of Texans injured and infirmed like it was a roll call in advanced algebra. The situation was less dire on Thursday, but improvement was best described as moderate. Linebackers Brian Cushing (kneehamstring) and Connor Barwin (Achilles' tendon) participated in practice after being held out the previous day due to the "general soreness" that typically accompanies 14 consecutive weeks of professional football. Along with the Colts, Saints and Steelers, the Texans (6-3) must push through Week 10 before finally reaching their open week. That quartet will be the final group to enjoy a Sunday off next weekend, with the Texans intent upon maintaining momentum against the Buccaneers (4-4) in Tampa, Fla., this Sunday while also eyeing some much needed rest. "Oh yeah, I think for a lot of us," said Texans right tackle Eric Winston on whether reaching the open week last has been a physical grind. "You see a lot of guys with tape on all the time. You see a lot of guys with a little extra padding even for practices that I think usually you wouldn't have. "It's been tough, but I've been impressed with everyone here. Everyone's just had that single focus of every week and 1-0 and this week's really been no different. To be this late in the year and haven't had a break in four months, I think everyone's really pushing to make sure we finish this off going into the bye the right way." That push is laborious. Following four preseason games with 10 consecutive weeks of regular-season activity can test even the best conditioned. Mix in a series of injuries, both catastrophic and routine, and what's left is a roster stretched to the limits physically and mentally. Winston (back) did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but he is expected to return on Friday. Defensive end Antonio Smith (shoulder) has been sidelined this week. Nose tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle) is dinged. Those developments unfolded on Monday. The Texans have been without wide receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring) and free safety Danieal Manning (leg) for weeks. Linebackers Mario Williams (pectoral) and Darryl Sharpton (quadriceps tendon) were lost for the season last month. Injuries accumulate on every roster throughout the NFL, but enduring such a lengthy stretch of games likely contributes to the attrition. That the Texans have won three consecutive games in the midst of the maladies reflects positively on their week-to-week focus. "It's the latest one I've ever been a part of," Kubiak said of the open week. "You've got to do what you've got to do, but sometimes they fall perfect for you from a health standpoint. I don't mind it that it's happened so late, but we do need to get some guys freshened up. "We're also playing very good football right now so you deal with it and you move on. You push through. We've got about five or six guys that really got to push through this weekend, suck it up and go play. And then we've got to give them a break. We're expecting them to do that." Currently in his sixth season with the Texans, Kubiak has twice had an open week in Week 10 (2007 and 2009), with the Texans losing their scheduled open week in 2008 when their Week 2 game against the Ravens was rescheduled after Hurricane Ike damaged Reliant Stadium. In 06 the Texans were off in Week 5; last year they were off in Week 7. Despite the grind the Texans, like the Saints (6-3) and Steelers (6-3), have held up well. Given their standing atop the AFC South and what could manifest if they reach the break four games over .500, the Texans don't want to relent now. They don't want to give in to what wear and tear has wrought, even though the impact is obvious. A loss before that precious open week would surrender so much of what has been gained. "Everybody understands the importance of winning this game," Texans rookie defensive end J.J. Watt said. "I don't think anybody is looking too far ahead. Our goal every week is 1-0 and there's no difference this week. Everyone is preparing very, very hard to go out there and win a football game." Said Winston: "There's a huge difference between 7-3 and 6-4. There's a really big difference, so I think everyone knows that. I think we're preparing like that. I think everyone's doing the right thing right now. If those right things yield a victory, then the Texans will be sitting pretty for the stretch run. If Johnson doesn't play against the Buccaneers, he'll assuredly be available at Jacksonville on Nov. 27. All the bumps and bruises that have so many Texans looking worn will be smoothed out with some down time. Given a chance to regroup, the Texans can heal. Kubiak noted that the Texans were stretched thin at practice on Wednesday because so many players were out. The open week doesn't represent a finish line by any means, but it will give this weary group a chance to recharge their batteries for the final six weeks of the season. "Football in general is like that," Cushing said. "It's a tough, long season in the NFL. We do have a later bye week and we've had to push, but at the same time I think it's going to benefit us now coming back fresh with only six games left." Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Jackson's trolling in an NBA of long-tailed narratives

Top storylines for college football's Rivalry Week

Gabby Douglas says she was also abused by Larry Nassar

MLB punishes Braves, bans former GM for life

Report: Paxton Lynch will start for Broncos in Week 12

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ray Allen claims he was victim of catfishing scheme

Joe Morgan to voters: ‘Steroid users don’t belong here’

Jones confident he will get his way with Goodell contract

Clippers' Doc Rivers firmly on the hot seat

Report: Raiders fire DC Ken Norton Jr.

Cam Newton shares 2008 police photo to share message of hope

NFL Week 12 predictions

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

MLS conference finals predictions: Who will advance to play for Cup trophy?

Texans News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker