No surprise: Kubiak expects Yates to play vs. Bengals

Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates’ shoulder injury is not expected to jeopardize his availability for Saturday’s playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadium.

Yates bruised his non-throwing (left) shoulder in the first quarter on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. With the Texans already locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC, he did not return to the game for precautionary reasons.

“He’s feeling pretty good today,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said on Monday. “I mean, he’s sore. Like I said, we still think he could’ve came back in the game yesterday, so all indications are that he’ll be ready to go next weekend. Obviously, we’ve got to get him back on the practice field to feel good and confident about that, but all indications are that we’ll get there. We’ll do it day-to-day.”

After getting injured on the Texans’ first play on Sunday, Yates stayed in the game and completed 4-of-4 passes for 47 yards. He led the offense on a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive.

“If he can play, he’s going to play,” Kubiak said. “He played really well yesterday, was very sharp early in the game. Continues to do good stuff, as I’ve told y’all. He’s very young and this is a big, big game, but he’s the best guy for our football team and if he’s able to go and do the things that we need him to do in practice, then we’ll turn him loose and let him go.”

In six games, Yates has completed 82-of-134 passes (61.2 percent) for 949 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a passer rating of 80.7. The fifth-round draft pick from North Carolina threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns at Cincinnati in Week 14, leading the Texans to a 20-19 comeback victory.

Kubiak said he has been impressed with Yates’ preparation behind the scenes.

“Sitting down (with him) the night before a game, answering questions, going through a game plan, his reads and all those things, he’s a very quick thinker on the field,” Kubiak said. “Things happen fast for him. Sometimes they happen a little too fast, and you can see that as a young guy, but he’s very sharp with what we’re trying to go get done on gameday. He handles the group very well. They’ve got a lot of confidence in him. Even though he’s young and has his own issues, he can still help everybody out and seems to be getting better every time that he’s out there.”

Right guard is the only other Texans starter with a significant injury concern heading into Saturday. He has missed the last three games after fracturing his fibula against the Bengals on Dec. 11. Kubiak is hopeful Brisiel can return to practice this week and said he “may be able to contribute this next weekend.”

Kubiak said that offensive tackle (hip), linebacker (neck) and cornerback (back spasms) are all day-to-day.

Twitter.com/NickScurfield

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