Carr returns to practice from ankle injury

Updated: November 5, 2003, 7:28 PM ET

HOUSTON -- David Carr made it through his first practice in 10 days since spraining his right ankle at Indianapolis, and said Wednesday he expects to start at Cincinnati this weekend.

Carr split first-team drills with veteran Tony Banks, who stepped in to lead the Texans to a 14-10 upset of visiting Carolina on Sunday. Carr did not appear to favor his heavily taped ankle during the two-hour practice session or afterward.

"He did fine with the things we asked him to do," coach Dom Capers said. "He took a limited number of snaps, but I thought he did well with the snaps that he took."

The real test will be how Carr feels later this week, Capers said, although he remains on pace to start for the Texans (3-5).

"We'll probably increase his load a little (Thursday) and hopefully increase it a little more on Friday," Capers said.

The only scenario Carr could imagine that would prevent him from starting would be reinjuring the ankle during practice.

"We've got it taped up pretty well. If we can prevent anything from setting it back, I think I'll be OK," he said.

Carr, last year's No. 1 overall draft choice, took every snap for Houston as a rookie and started the franchise's first 23 games until Banks led the Texans to victory last weekend.

In seven games, Carr has completed 60 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is averaging 212 yards per game, a number that would be slightly higher if he wasn't knocked out of the Colts game in the first quarter.

Ironically for Carr, he suffered his first significant injury as a professional on a sack in a season where his protection has been above-average compared to his peers. He has taken 11 sacks in seven games this season and was on pace for 43; last season he was dumped a record 76 times.

The last few days, Carr has practiced dropping back to pass, which places strain on his tender right ankle. He reported it feels better day by day. He came out of Wednesday's workout without new soreness.

"I went out there and did what I wanted to do without too much pain," Carr said.

Defensive end Gary Walker was listed as doubtful as he continues to rest an inflamed big toe on his right foot, and right outside linebacker Charlie Clemons also missed practice and could miss his third straight game with a left ankle injury.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index