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Texans hope Kubiak's return provides spark

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The reeling Houston Texans received a boost with the return of coach Gary Kubiak on Monday as the team began to prepare for Sunday's home game against the Oakland Raiders.

Kubiak, who suffered a mini-stroke at halftime of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 3, made an appearance at practice on Thursday and came to the office on Friday. Kubiak worked half a day on Monday, and should be on the practice field Wednesday and back on the sideline for the Oakland game.

"It was good to see him," said wide receiver Andre Johnson, who caught two touchdown passes in Sunday's 27-24 loss at the Arizona Cardinals. "Coming out to practice (Thursday) was the big thing because we saw he was out and about and doing well. It's just good to have him back."

The Texans were leading the Colts 21-3 when Kubiak suffered the mini-stroke and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. They went on to lose that game 27-24.

Kubiak returns with his team mired in a seven-game losing streak.

"It's going to be great to have him back," running back Ben Tate said. "He's a great offensive mind. Maybe he can help us solve this problem.

"He talked to us in our meeting, letting us know his situation from here on out."

This is Kubiak's eighth season as the Texans' coach. In a season in which they were expected to contend for the Super Bowl, they've been a massive disappointment.

The players were hoping to win one for their coach, but they couldn't pull it off at Arizona.

"It was odd not seeing him on a day-to-day basis," offensive tackle Duane Brown said. "Seeing him up and about and locked into everything we've got going on was a great sight."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips served as interim coach in Kubiak's absence. Kubiak hasn't been available to the media since the incident.

"His comments (to the players) were really overall, looking at the (Arizona) game from afar and how much he missed it," Phillips said about Kubiak. "How much he missed being with the players and how much he missed being around the team.

"He was telling them that you guys don't realize how much you miss it until you're out of it, even one week. He looked fine. Again, he talked to the team about those things with conviction."
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