Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt will miss the remainder of the 2017-18 NFL season due to suffering a leg fracture in Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a statement by Texans head coach Bill O’Brien on Monday.
Watt fractured the tibial plateau in his left leg while rushing the Chiefs backfield on Houston’s first defensive series of the game. He fell while engaged in a block with K.C. offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and attempted to finish out the play before collapsing to the ground. Watt was helped off the field by Texans staff, evaluated in the locker room, and ultimately sent to a local hospital. He was seen holding back tears while on the sidelines after the play.
Considered to be one of the best defensive players in the history of football, the loss of Watt will be detrimental to a Texans team which dropped to 2-3 after the 42-34 loss to the Chiefs. This came just after Houston lost outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus for the season, who tore a pectoral muscle on the very same drive during which Watt was injured.
Watt is a sort of folk hero to the Houston area, both because of his dominance on the field as well as due to his strong efforts in helping the area recover from Hurricane Harvey. After the injury, the crowd in Houston went silent with faces falling into palms all over the stadium. The announcement of Watt’s absence for the rest of the season was heartbreaking and the Texans are sure to struggle without his massive presence forcing opposing teams to rethink everything they do on offense.