HOUSTON — Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, a former Clemson standout, sustained a season-ending knee injury in practice on Thursday, according to confirmed reports in Houston to The Associated Press.
The rookie suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees and will go on injured reserve. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced the injury during the afternoon once it happened.
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.
The former Tigers standout had been a bright spot in a challenging season for the Texans (3-4). The 12th overall pick in this year's draft was the AFC offensive player of the month after throwing for 1,171 yards with 16 touchdowns and running for 145 yards and another score.
Many people took to Twitter to express dismay at the injury and wish Watson well.
Watt tweeted: "Minor setback for a major comeback. We've all seen what's possible, can't wait to see what's next. With you every step of the way 4."
NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted a link to a story about his injury and wrote: "This seriously just made me sad man!! Get well and stronger asap."
Watson's 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 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.
Now, the Texans will look to Savage to salvage this injury-plagued season and try to reach the playoffs for the third straight season.
The Texans will sign Matt McGloin to back up Savage, a person familiar with the move told The AP on the condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced it. McGloin, who played for O'Brien at Penn State, was released by the Eagles on Sept. 1.
The Texans host the Colts (2-6) on Sunday.
Colts' without Luck
for entire season
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck will spend a second offseason recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Indianapolis Colts put Luck on injured reserve Thursday, 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.