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Texans hold breath as Foster limps off field

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- When the Houston Texans returned to organized team activities after their Memorial Day holiday, they received quite a scare.

About midway through the OTA Tuesday, running back Arian Foster took a handoff from quarterback Matt Schaub, took a step and pulled up. Foster grabbed his right leg.

Foster was assisted off the field. His right calf was wrapped with ice. He watched part of practice before being driven into Reliant Stadium to undergo treatment.

Fortunately for Foster and the Texans, the injury wasn't serious.

"Arian's got a strained calf muscle," coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's a part of football, but it's always concerning. He's been having an outstanding offseason."

When he saw Foster limp off the field, wide receiver Andre Johnson was like his teammates -- he held his breath.

"We were running a play, and I just saw him limping off the field," Johnson said. "I don't know exactly what happened. I went through that myself, going down without being touched (with a hamstring injury). That's just the nature of this business. You just have to find a way to recover from it and come back stronger.

"I know how hard Arian works, so I'm sure he'll be fine."

Foster, who rushed for 1,424 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, hadn't miss an OTA even though he was filming the Kevin Costner-starring movie, Draft Day, in New York and Cleveland.

Costner plays the Cleveland Browns' general manager. Foster, who shaved his beard to look younger, auditioned and won the role of a top college running back who gets drafted. His role wrapped in Cleveland on Friday.

Realistically, Foster can afford to miss OTAs. Making sure his calf muscle is 100 percent is most important. He's had issues with calf muscles and hamstrings.

With Foster being sidelined an undetermined number of OTAs, backup Ben Tate is going to get more time with the starters.

Tate is entering the last year of his contract. The Texans need Tate to stay healthy and contribute as he did in 2011 when he rushed for 942 yards playing behind Foster. They don't need a performance similar to last season when injuries limited him to 279 yards -- third on the team.

Moving up a notch behind Tate will be newly acquired veteran Deji Karim and undrafted rookies Dennis Johnson, Ray Graham and Cierre Wood.

"All four of them have good running ability," Kubiak said. "The thing that's going to be the key is how they pick up pass protections and how they play on special teams."

At some point, the Texans are expected to sign at least one more veteran running back.

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