Clowney was declared inactive for Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Prior to the game he ran sprints from sideline to sideline with trainers and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel watching. Clowney ran in a straight line during that pregame workout and did not make any lateral movements.
The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft suffered a torn meniscus in the Texans' season opener. The injury was a non-contact injury that occured when Clowney jumped in the air and landed on the grass awkwardly.
He had arthroscopic knee surgery six weeks ago on Sept. 8. The injury was initially termed one that would need 4-6 weeks of recovery time.
The Texans and Clowney had hoped Monday night's game would mark his return.
On Friday, he practiced for the first time since having surgery. Whitney Mercilus will continue to start in Clowney's place.