Houston running back Arian Foster was removed from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday and practiced with the Texans for the first time since May.
Foster strained his right calf in an offseason practice in late May and struggled with a sore back after recovering from that injury.
"It's really important," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's been working, it's not like he's been standing around. He's been trying to get all that soreness out and he felt really good the last two days. I think we took a big step forward."
Kubiak thought that Foster would have returned to practice sooner than he did, but he understood why he was out as long as he was.
"I was watching him work and watching what he was going though so I felt confident that we were close and ready to go," Kubiak said. "I also understand how important it was that they did it at the right time. The key is Arian felt good about it today and that's the most important thing."
Foster rushed for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns last year for his third straight 1,200-yard season.
Kubiak doesn't expect Foster to play Sunday against the Saints and he likely won't play in Houston's final preseason game on Aug. 29 at Dallas. But that won't keep him from being ready for Houston's opener at San Diego on Sept. 9.
"I don't think it's a must that he carry the ball in preseason to be ready for San Diego," Kubiak said.
Around the league
Colts • Indianapolis acquired ex-Utah wide receiver David Reed from Indianapolis in a trade for running back Delone Carter. Reed, 26, has five career receptions for 66 yards over three years. All five catches came last year. To this point in his career, his biggest plays have come on special teams.
Eagles • Five-time Pro Bowl selection Jason Peters is set to return to the offensive line and play three quarters Saturday night against Jacksonville. Peters missed all of the 2012 season after he ruptured his right Achilles. He also missed the first two preseason games because of a sore hamstring.
Steelers • Coach Mike Tomlin ruled rookie running back Le'Veon Bell out of Saturday's game against Kansas City with a right foot injury. Bell underwent an MRI on Tuesday and Tomlin said he will wait for a second opinion before making a determination about Bell's long-term status. Tomlin brushed aside reports that Bell is out several weeks.
Cowboys • Middle linebacker Sean Lee and Dallas agreed on a six-year contract extension through the 2019 season. A story on the team's website said Lee's deal is worth about $42 million but could escalate as high as $51 million depending on different incentives.
Cardinals • Arizona signed Dan Carpenter to compete with Jay Feely as the team's kicker. Carpenter was released by the Dolphins a week ago. He signed with Miami as an undrafted rookie in 2008 and, coincidentally, took Feely's job away from him there that season.
Giants • Offensive lineman David Diehl will need surgery to repair an unstable right thumb. The 32-year old was hurt in Sunday's preseason game vs. Indianapolis and is expected to be sidelined six weeks.
New England at Detroit, 5:30 p.m.
Carolina at Baltimore, 6 p.m., ESPN
Seattle at Green Bay, 6 p.m., Ch. 2
Chicago at Oakland, 8 p.m., NFL
Buffalo at Washington, 2:30 p.m., NFL
Cleveland at Indianapolis, 5 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants, 5 p.m.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 5:30 p.m.
Philly at Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Miami, 5:30 p.m.
St. Louis at Denver, 6 p.m., Ch. 2
Cincinnati at Dallas, 6 p.m.
Atlanta at Tennessee, 6 p.m.
San Diego at Arizona, 8 p.m., NFL
New Orleans at Houston, 2 p.m., Ch. 13
Minnesota at San Francisco, 6 p.m., Ch. 5