Houston — Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson sustained a season-ending knee injury in practice on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Watson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees and will go on injured reserve.
His injury is the latest blow to a team that lost three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries on Oct. 8.
Watson had been a relative bright spot in challenging season for the Texans (3-4). Watson, the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, was named AFC offensive player of the month after throwing for 1,171 yards with 16 touchdowns and running for 145 yards and another score.
His development this season had been a revelation for a team that has featured a revolving door at quarterback over recent years. The Texans signed Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract before last season, but he was benched before the season was over and shipped to Cleveland in the offseason.
When Houston traded up 13 picks to take Watson, many assumed he’d be the starter to open the season.
But Coach Bill O’Brien insisted he back up Tom Savage. Watson’s time as a backup was short-lived as Savage struggled in the opener and was benched at halftime, making the former Clemson standout the ninth quarterback the Texans have played in the past five years.
Watson made his first start in Week 2 and immediately excelled, leading the Texans to a 13-9 win on the road against the Bengals. Since then, he’s turned a team known for defense into one with a high-flying offense. Under his guidance, the Texans had scored 30 or more points in five straight games to set a franchise record.
Watson’s 19 touchdown passes are tied for the league lead and are the most in NFL history through a player’s first seven career games. He leads all quarterbacks this season with 21 touchdowns overall and has thrown four or more touchdown passes in three games this season to join Fran Tarkenton as the only rookies in NFL history to do so.
Luck out for season
Andrew Luck will spend a second offseason recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Colts put Luck on injured reserve, marking the end of his season and the beginning of a different rehab program that team officials believe will get their star quarterback on the field next fall.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard made the announcement during a surprise news conference at the team complex.
“I’ve heard all sorts of rumors about career-ending,” Ballard said. “That’s not the case here. I’ve not got that from one doctor. Career-ending is putting him out on the field before he’s ready to play. That’s where you should be concerned.”
Indianapolis (2-6) never did rush Luck.
After having surgery in January for a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, Luck missed all of Indy’s offseason workouts, all of training camp, the entire preseason and now the entire 16-game regular season.
Luck didn’t even start throwing to teammates until early October and was limited to throwing every other day. Just two weeks later, he was “shut down” because of soreness his right shoulder.
So with the Colts struggling, their playoff hopes fading fast and Luck apparently not ready to play, Indianapolis decided to make the smart, cautious move.
“I wish I was better and 100 percent this season, but that’s not the case,” Luck told the team’s website, Colts.com.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has no chance with his latest attempt to delay a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, NFL lawyers said.
The attorneys told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan it should not interfere with Elliott beginning his suspension Sunday when the Cowboys play Kansas City at home because the NFL Players Association “has no likelihood of success on appeal.”
The union has asked the court to block the start of the suspension until it considers its request to overturn a lower-court ruling.
... The 49ers placed leading receiver Pierre Garcon on injured reserve for the remainder of the season with a neck injury.