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Missing anchor

Pro Bowl OT Boselli uncertain about return date

Posted: Saturday July 20, 2002 3:36 PM

HOUSTON (AP) -- The expansion Houston Texans opened training camp Saturday with a heightened concern over team depth.

Offensive tackle Tony Boselli, the Texans' top pick in the expansion draft and one of the team's highest profile players, is still recovering from shoulder surgeries.

The five-time Pro Bowl star played in only three games last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars because of shoulder injuries. He's had three surgeries since November and wasn't able to participate fully in any of the minicamps.

Now, he won't be ready to begin two-a-day practices on Monday.

General manager Charley Casserly thinks too much is being made of Boselli's injuries.

"We knew when we took him he'd miss some time but no one can predict how much time," Casserly said. "To me this is not a negative thing. We knew it would happen. Frankly, I think too much is being made of it.

"My feeling is that he's rehabbing and at some point he'll play and I don't know the process. All you can do is plan. We'd love to have him out here but he's just one player on a football team."

Still, the Texans are counting on Boselli to be the primary protector of quarterback David Carr, the team's No. 1 draft choice.

"It will certainly hurt us because we don't have a lot of depth and that just means that we're thinned out that much more," owner Bob McNair said. "It creates some opportunities for some rookies.

"It's not the end of the world but Tony is such a standout player that you want him in there as soon as possible."

Boselli came to the Texans with a $7.5 million salary cap hit, but the price and health concerns did not deter McNair.

"I'm concerned because he's an outstanding player," McNair said. "We were aware he had some injuries so none of that is a surprise. I'm just anxious to see him out there playing because he's an important part of our team.

"I'm more concerned about that than the financial part even though it's a lot of money."

No one is putting a date on Boselli's return, although the goal is Sept. 8 -- the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

"The only thing I've told them is I want them to understand that I'm not pushing," McNair said. "When he goes out there, I want him to be healthy and to stay out there. Long term, I think he's going to be one of our fixtures."

Former University of Houston and Chicago Bears tackle Jimmy Herndon has been working with the Texans' first team line in Boselli's absence.

Players were due at the team hotel Saturday night. They will undergo physicals Sunday and begin two-a-day drills on their plush, new practice facility adjacent to Reliant Stadium.

All players will be required to stay at the hotel and make head coach Dom Capers' nightly curfew.

"You go to sleep and you just anticipate training camp's start," linebacker Kailee Wong said. "You start having football dreams. I know I'm definitely excited and a lot of my teammates are excited. This is why we've been here for six months."

Capers will alternate his two-a-day sessions to compensate for the sizzling Texas heat. His schedule will include two workouts and one meeting one day, followed by one workout and two meetings the next day.

"We want to work them hard enough to get ready for the season but not so hard that they are tired going into the season," Capers said.

The Texans have an air conditioned practice field and one of its outdoor practice fields is lighted for night workouts.

The Texans will scrimmage the Cowboys on Aug. 2 at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus.


 
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