FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- With one word, Ryan Fitzpatrick put to rest any discussions about his health or his game-day status.
"Yes,'' the Jets quarterback expects to start Sunday's road game against the Texans (4-5). And, yes, this game is personal.
Fitzpatrick spent last season with the Texans and was traded to the Jets in March for a late-round draft pick. Although his brief history in Houston isn't his main focus, he admitted it's in the back of his mind.
"I've been on enough teams now where you don't hold grudges, but it plays into it,'' he said. "I was on that team last year, was still under contract, and now I'm on this team this year.
"The fact that they didn't necessarily want me at the end of the year plays into it a little bit for me, just from the personal standpoint. But it's not a big thing, other than we're out there trying to win a game, get back on track. So the personal stuff has to be set aside and I've got to try to win a football game."
Fitzpatrick was on the practice field for the first time Wednesday since undergoing surgery on his left thumb last Friday. He said the procedure "went well'' and "things are on schedule.''
That's good news for the Jets (5-4), who are desperate to get back on track after losing three of their past four games.
Fitzpatrick chose to have surgery Friday morning -- less than 12 hours after losing to the Bills -- because it would ensure he'd have nine days to recover for this game. Although he did not practice and participated only in individual passing drills, he said that was the Jets' plan all along.
"I didn't feel great the first couple days, just groggy and trying to get over all that,'' he said. "But I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday, and hopefully I'll make the same step tomorrow.''
Asked about his expectations for Thursday's practice, Fitzpatrick said: "Yeah, I'll definitely do a lot more tomorrow.''
Since trading Fitzpatrick, the Texans have had a host of quarterback issues. Following a training camp competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, Bill O'Brien named Hoyer his starter. But after a shaky opener, O'Brien benched Hoyer in favor of Mallett in Week 2.
After five games in which Mallett threw three touchdowns, four interceptions and missed a charter flight for a game, he was released. The Texans signed T.J. Yates, who replaced an injured Hoyer Monday night and threw a touchdown pass in a 10-6 road win over the previously unbeaten Bengals.
On Wednesday, the Texans claimed former Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden off waivers because Hoyer is going through the concussion protocol and likely will miss Sunday's game.
So, should Houston regret its decision to trade Fitzpatrick?
"Nah. I mean, they had their plan of what they wanted to do,'' he said. "I didn't happen to be in those plans. So everybody's got to move on.''
The Texans have moved on. But they still have plenty of respect for their former starter.
"He's a great competitor,'' All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt said. "He lays it all on the line, he takes hits and pops right back up. He'll run and he won't slide, he does whatever it takes to help his team win.
"I think that's why teammates love him. He's going to go out there no matter what the situation is, no matter if he's hurt or not, and give it everything he's got.''