Texans Rookie Quarterback Deshaun Watson Out For Season with Torn ACL
It’s safe to say it’s been a rollercoaster of a 24 hours for Houston sports fans. Less than a full day after the Houston Astros brought the city its first major professional sports championship since 1995, it was reported that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice.
Watson reportedly suffered the non-contact injury during Thursday’s practice. He will undergo surgery on the injured knee and miss the remainder of the season. Earlier in the day, Watson had been named as the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for his stellar play.
Tom Savage to Start
The Texans will now likely turn to Tom Savage as Watson’s replacement. Savage began the season as Houston’s starting signal-caller before being benched at halftime during the team’s Week 1 loss at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Savage has been on the bench ever since, save for a cameo appearance late in a blowout victory over the Tennessee Titans on October 1.
The Watson injury is a serious gut-punch to a Texans team that has had its fair share of ups and downs already this season. The team fell to 3-4 with a close loss in Seattle last Sunday, but Watson proved to be a revelation once head coach Bill O’Brien handed him the reins.
Watson, whom the Texans snagged with the No. 12 overall pick in this past April’s draft, had already set a number of NFL rookie records for quarterbacks. Through seven games, the former Clemson Tiger had completed just under 62 percent of his throws for 1,699 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Watson also rushed for 269 yards on 36 carries with another two TDs.
During his brief stint in charge of Houston’s offense, Watson set rookie records for most passing touchdowns in a single game (5) and most passing touchdowns in a calendar month (16). His five passing touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs also set a Texans franchise record for passing TDs by a rookie.
Tough Times for the Texans
Watson is just the latest crucial member of the Texans to go down. The team has already lost a pair of Pro Bowl defensive players in J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season. Another starter, defensive lineman Christian Covington, went down for the season after the Seattle game. Houston is also without Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing, who is in the midst of serving a 10-game suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs for a second time.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Texans, after last week’s controversial comments from the team’s owner, Bob McNair. McNair was quoted as saying “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting between players and owners, which sparked controversy in light of the national anthem protests that have swept the league in recent weeks. Several Texans players were reportedly outraged by the remarks, and the majority of the team knelt during the anthem last week in Seattle in protest.
NFL Network, who first reported the news, said that Watson will face an eight-to-nine month rehabilitation. He should be healthy and ready to roll by the time the 2018 season begins.
Despite the 3-4 record, the Texans are still very much in the thick of things in the AFC South. Houston currently sits third in the division, but the Titans and Jaguars are tied for the division lead at just 4-3. The Texans will have a great opportunity to pull their record to .500 this Sunday when they host the lowly 2-6 Indianapolis Colts.
Watson and Savage are currently the only two quarterbacks on the Texans’ roster, which means they’ll have to dip into the free agency pool in order to find a backup to Savage.
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