HOUSTON (AP) -Xavier Adibi thought he might never play football again.
The Texans rookie linebacker suffered from a mystery illness that caused migraines, uncontrollable vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light.
``It was real tough because you don't know what's happening and you don't know what's going on with your own body,'' he said. ``You want to get better but you don't know what's going on, so you can't say this is what's wrong with me and this is what I need to do to get over it.''
Adibi practiced when he could and continued to come to meetings and study film while he was sick, but everyone knew he was struggling physically and emotionally.
``He was down,'' said linebackers coach Johnny Holland. ``I put myself in his shoes. When you're sick and not feeling good and you can't play and everyone is expecting you to play it's tough. Guys get paid to play and they want to play. He wasn't feeling good and I know some days he came over here he really didn't feel like being here.''
e for a player the Texans had high hopes for when they chose him in the fourth round of this year's draft out of Virginia Tech. He led the Hokies with 117 tackles, forced a fumble and had two interceptions last season.
Halfway through his rookie season he'd only been active for one game and his condition had caused him to lose so much weight that he faced an uncertain future.
``I thought maybe I wouldn't be playing football ever again, that I probably wouldn't play for the rest of the year,'' he said. ``It was just a lot of bad thoughts that was going through my mind. That's when the family and the friends came in just to keep me positive about everything.''
The 24-year-old leaned on family and friends during this time, but said Holland's support was invaluable in keeping him on track and up to speed with the defense.
``Johnny Holland he stayed on me all the time and was pushing me when he saw that I was down,'' Adibi said. ``He was always asking me questions in the meeting room, meeting with me one on one and helping me out with anything I ever needed.''
Holland said he could see how much Adibi wanted to get better and succeed.
home for him.''
Holland sat by Abibi in meetings, looking over his shoulder to make sure he was taking notes and understanding what they were teaching for when he'd get back on the field.
Adibi never learned what was making him ill, but sat out more than a month before getting healthy enough to get back on the field. The improvement was gradual and he still suffers from migraines, but has medication to deal with them.
Since his return he's made up for lost time, getting 22 tackles and fumble recovery in the last three games.
``It was an excellent feeling,'' Adibi said of his return. ``I was a nervous wreck, but I went out there and got those first couple of plays out of the way and from that point just went out there and played ball.''
In his first game back he had four tackles before his breakout game against the Colts. In his first career start, Adibi had 15 tackles in Houston's loss to Indianapolis. He started again last week and finished with four tackles and recovered a fumble in the Texans win over Cleveland.
``I have been very impressed because we worried about him early in the season,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ``All of the sudden he got an opportunity and he's just been amazing ... he found some fun out here again. I don't think he was having a lot of fun those first weeks with the troubles he was having. So it's exciting to see the progress he's making.''
thy, the Texans are eager to see how much progress he can make before the end of the season.
``I like his speed and quickness,'' Holland said. ``I like his instincts. He's athletic. He can run. He can cover guys. He's got some natural ability. I'm excited to see how far he can go from here.''
Adibi still wonders why he got so sick, but doesn't think about the possibility of it happening again, instead choosing to focus on his recent success.
``You can't worry about stuff,'' he said. ``It's not in my hands. Everything is in God's hands. I just pray all the time, every chance I get and I'm just happy for where I'm at right now. I never would have thought I'd be out there starting after what was going on with me. So I just feel real blessed and happy.''

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