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Texans Gain O-Line Stability Back At Practice With Britt

Justin Britt is getting healthy just in time for the Arizona Cardinals game

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans veteran starting center Justin Britt returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis.

Britt missed the Indianapolis Colts game and was replaced in the starting lineup by Justin McCray due to a bruised and slightly hyperextended knee that bent backward against the New England Patriots, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

A former Pro Bowl alternate with the Seattle Seahawks, Britt signed a one-year, $5 million contract this offseason and emerged as the leader of an overhauled offensive line. If Britt is able to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, he could provide a steadying influence in the middle of the line to help rookie quarterback Davis Mills and the Texans' running game.

Meanwhile, rookie wide receiver Nico Collins, who returned last Sunday against the Colts and had a strong game, was limited Thursday due to a foot injury.

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Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (back, herniated disc) didn't practice along with quarterback Deshaun Watson (non-injury reasons) and defensive tackle Ross Blacklock (non-injury reasons). Blacklock was activated from the reserve-COVID-19 list Wednesday.

“We talked about Jonathan Greenard, Jacob Martin, young players that are coming into their own. I think Ross is in a similar situation," defensive coordinator Lovie Smith said. "COVID, of course, kind of knocked him out a while, but he’s athletic. He’s been productive rushing the passer at our three-technique position. He just needs to play. We’ll be a better defense once he’s in the mix, also, and we plan on having him in this week.”

The Texans will travel Sunday to take on the Arizona Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 3:25 p.m. CT.