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NFL notes: Jadeveon Clowney nears return to Texans lineup

Clowney
Clowney
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No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice on Friday and hopes to play on Monday night when Houston visits Pittsburgh.

Clowney practiced in a limited capacity for the first time since the defensive standout at South Carolina had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

“I’ve always been looking forward to making plays for my team and helping us win,” Clowney said. “I hope I can play, but we’ll see.”

Coach Bill O’Brien said they’ll decide before the game on Monday if he can play, and while hopeful that he can go, Clowney said he wouldn’t be surprised if he can’t. The 6-foot-6, 274-pound Clowney said he remains limited despite being almost six weeks removed from the surgery.

“Right now it’s up to me what I can do,” he said. “I’m out there really testing my leg out, just seeing what I can really do and what I can’t do. So if I can do it, I’ll do it. If I can’t I’ll just let the coaches know: ‘That’s bothering me,’ and they’ll just take me out of that drill.”

The outside linebacker was injured in the season-opener on Sept. 7 and had surgery the next day.

Graham status unknown

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.

Graham has returned to practice on a limited basis this week despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of New Orleans’ Week 5 victory over Tampa Bay. He has practiced both Thursday and Friday, and was listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report.

Burfict fine confirmed

The $25,000 fine assessed to Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict was confirmed by the NFL.

Burfict was fined for twisting an opponent’s leg twice after the play was over in the third and fourth quarters of a 37-37 tie with Carolina. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen were the victims.

Irsay donates for Still

Colts owner Jim Irsay is donating $10,000 to Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center in support of the 4-year-old daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still. Leah Still was diagnosed with cancer four months ago and underwent surgery in September. The Colts host the Bengals on Sunday.

Around the League

The Browns have placed Pro Bowl center Alex Mack on injured reserve with a broken left leg. … Titans quarterback Jake Locker was limited in practice for a third straight day and is questionable for Sunday’s game with the Redskins because of his bruised right thumb. … Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is probable for Sunday’s game at Chicago because of an ankle injury. … The Browns waived former Eastern Washington defensive back Isaiah Trufant. … The Cowboys waived former Idaho linebacker Korey Toomer.

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