The Houston Texans lost two of their best defensive players to injuries in Sunday night’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed Monday that both defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus had suffered season-ending injuries.
Bill O’Brien confirms DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus will miss the remainder of the season.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 9, 2017
The Texans announced during the game that Watt had suffered a tibial plateau fracture and ruled out Mercilus in the first half with a chest injury.
NFL Network’s James Palmer reported after the game that Mercilus had torn his pectoral muscle, ending his 2017 season.
#Texans Whitney Mercilus has a torn pectoral and will be out for the year. Huge blow to maybe the most underrated pass rushers in the NFL.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) October 9, 2017
Watt and Mercilus both suffered their injuries on the game’s opening drive.
“To have their seasons cut short because of an injury, it’s tough,” O’Brien said Monday, via Houston’s team website. “But, and that’s a big but, this football team understands that it is the ‘Next man up’ philosophy.”
Watt played in just three games last season before undergoing season-ending back surgery, and the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year will now look to work his way back from another devastating injury. Prior to the 2016 season, Watt had not missed a single game during his first five seasons.
Mercilus, a 2016 second-team All-Pro, recorded career-highs in tackles (53) and tackles for a loss (8) last season and had recorded 10 tackles and one sack in the team’s first four games this season.
“The train doesn’t stop moving,” O’Brien said. “The train keeps going. That’s the deal with the League. That’s what makes the NFL what it is. You don’t replace J.J. Watt or Whitney Mercilus with one guy. That’s ridiculous.”
I can’t sugarcoat it, I am devastated.
All I want to do is be out there on that field for my teammates and this city.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) October 9, 2017
— Whitney Mercilus (@Merci380) October 10, 2017