Kubiak visits team, 4 days after mini-stroke

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak was back with his team, if only for a short visit.

He dropped in on the team at the end of practice Thursday, four days after he collapsed at a game with a mini-stroke. Kubiak was not made available to the media, but interim head coach Wade Phillips shared what Kubiak said to the team.

“Mostly that he missed them and how much he missed (being here),” Phillips said. “(He said) You don’t realize until you’re away from it a little bit how much you miss the team and being around them, and that kind of thing. And that he felt good. That was his message.”

It was the first time Kubiak had addressed the Texans since collapsing on the field and being rushed to the hospital at halftime of Houston’s loss to Indianapolis on Sunday night.

“To actually see him and hear him talk to us, that means everything,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “You can hear all about somebody doing well … but seeing them out and about and walking around that means everything to us.”

The Texans have not said when the 52-year-old Kubiak will resume his coaching duties. But they have said that he is expected to make a full recovery after he was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Defensive end Antonio Smith was relieved to see Kubiak after only hearing reports of his status since his attack.

“It was a breath of fresh air,” Smith said. “That takes a lot of the guessing out of it. Everybody was wondering how he was really doing … is he really worse than what they say? He’s right there in front of you doing good.”

Kubiak suffered a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, typically by a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. TIAs are often called mini-strokes and can cause stroke-like symptoms including sudden dizziness or unconsciousness. Experts say they are often a warning sign for a future stroke, particularly within three months of a TIA.

Kubiak used his visit to thank the team for their concern over his illness and to tease offense lineman Ben Jones for a particularly heartfelt letter he penned to the coach.

Phillips does not expect Kubiak to be involved in game preparations this week despite his visit on Thursday. He said Kubiak has told him to do what he thinks needs to be done with the team.

Houston takes a six-game losing streak to Arizona this Sunday. Along with Kubiak being out, the team is also dealing with uncertainty at running back: Arian Foster hasn’t practiced this week after leaving Sunday’s game early in the first quarter with a back injury and Ben Tate is still recovering from four broken ribs he sustained Oct. 20.

Foster seems doubtful to play against the Cardinals after Phillips said on Thursday that doctors are still evaluating his injury. Tate was limited in practice on Thursday, but said he expects to play.

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