Colts Daily Notebook: T.Y. Hilton Gets Another Shot At Texans Sunday

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INDIANAPOLIS — Much is made about T.Y. Hilton’s dominance against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium — and rightfully so.

But the numbers show Hilton is also a pain in the Texans’ neck at Lucas Oil Stadium, as well.

In seven career home games against Houston, Hilton is averaging five receptions and 73 yards, including a four-reception, 115-yard performance last season in which he was knocked out of the game with not one, but two separate injuries.

Any way you chop it, Hilton seems to save his best for the division rival Texans, and he’ll get his latest shot on Sunday, as Houston (4-2) travels to Indy to take on the Colts (3-2) in a midseason showdown for first place in the AFC South Division race.

“It’s a huge game. Divisional game — the winner of this is the leader of the division,” Hilton said. “So you always look back Week 12, 13, look at the games you should’ve won, so we know we’ve gotta try to get this one.”

The Colts hope Hilton will add his latest chapter of dominance against the Texans on Sunday. He’s played 14 total regular season games against Houston, averaging more than five receptions for 97 yards in those contests, with nine touchdowns.

So why, exactly, is that the case?

“I just go out there and do my job,” Hilton told reporters with a smile on Wednesday. “And I take what they give me — and I just guess they give me a lot.”

The Texans also head into Sunday’s game with some injury issues in the secondary, as starting cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Johnathan Joseph are both dealing with hamstring issues. While Joseph has expressed optimism he could possibly return against the Colts, Houston has leaned on rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. to hold it down at cornerback.

Johnson, a big body at 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, has performed well to this point, with 18 tackles and three passes defensed, and he could be the latest Texans corner thrown at Hilton in an attempt to slow him down.

“He's a great player,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said of Hilton last season. “He's got speed. A great route runner. He's got good hands. They line him up in all kinds of different places. He's a great player.”

Hooker’s return?

The Colts received very good news on the defensive side of the ball earlier this week, as two starters and captains — linebacker Darius Leonard and safety Clayton Geathers — were both cleared from the league’s concussion protocol after missing some time.

Could another starting safety find his way back to the field this week?

Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that Malik Hooker, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, is expected to return to the practice field in some capacity by Thursday.

“We’ll see how he progresses from there,” Reich said of Hooker, who did not practice on Wednesday.

The Colts will need all the reinforcements they can get Sunday against the Texans and their stable of offensive weapons, starting with quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. But running back Carlos Hyde (426 rushing yards) and wide receiver Will Fuller (33 receptions, 444 yards, three touchdowns) have also done plenty of damage so far this season.

“They’re talented skill guys all over,” Reich said today. “So we’ve gotta play our game. We’ve gotta play our fundamentals and technique. We know it starts up front — we’ve gotta get pressure; that helps — and then we’ve just gotta cover. We’ve gotta cover.

“‘Flus (defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus) and the defensive staff will do a great job of mixing it up and having a plan the best way to attack this team,” Reich said. “It’s different week-to-week, so you take a look at the matchups and the skill guys they have, and then you tailor the gameplan for their guys.”

Injury report

Here’s the full injury report from Wednesday’s practice:

» DNP: WR Parris Campbell (abdominal); CB Pierre Desir (hamstring); S Malik Hooker (knee); DT/DE Tyquan Lewis (ankle); CB Kenny Moore II (knee)

» Limited: LB Zaire Franklin (hamstring); S Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest)

» Full: None.

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