HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston coach Bill O'Brien says quarterback Ryan Mallett will start for the Texans on Sunday at Carolina.

O'Brien had said earlier in the week that he wouldn't announce a decision until game time. But after the news got out on Wednesday, O'Brien decided to make it official on Thursday.

Brian Hoyer beat Mallett for the job in camp. But Hoyer was benched in the fourth quarter of Houston's season-opening loss to the Chiefs after committing two turnovers. Mallett led Houston on two scoring drives in the final six minutes of 27-20 loss.

More from FoxSports

Also on Thursday, injured running back Arian Foster returned to practice for the first time since groin surgery. But it's unclear when he'll be ready to play.