INDIANAPOLIS —The Houston Texans were already hit hard with the injury bug on the defensive side of the ball earlier this season, when they lost two of their best pass rushers, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, for the year.
Now it appears their star rookie quarterback's season is over, too.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Watson suffered a torn ACL in a non-contact drill during Thursday's practice as the Texans prepared for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Watson is expected to undergo season-ending surgery.
The Texans are yet to confirm Watson's injury. He was listed as limited on the team's Thursday injury report with a knee injury.
In seven games, with six starts, Watson has been putting together one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He has completed 126-of-204 passes (61.8 percent) for 1,699 yards with 19 touchdowns to eight interceptions, while he has also ran the ball for 269 yards and two scores.
The Texans have not only been able to utilize a creative offensive scheme with Watson under center — taking advantage of the former Heisman Trophy nominee's athleticism and speed — but the team has also been successful in spreading the ball around.
Houston's top two receivers, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V, are each tied for the league lead with seven receiving touchdowns apiece.
"It's a lot different than last year," Fuller V said of the Texans' offense with Watson. "We have a lot of moving parts. Like you said, it's fun. It's fun to play with Deshaun. When he comes in the huddle, like I always say, he has his own swag. I feel like our offense has changed a lot since he's been here."
With Watson potentially sidelined for the rest of the year, the Texans are expected to turn to backup Tom Savage to start on Sunday against the Colts. The fourth-year Pittsburgh product actually earned the starting job over Watson coming out of the preseason, but after completing 7-of-13 passes for 62 yards with no touchdowns Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston head coach Bill O'Brien elected to go with Watson under center moving forward.
In his career, Savage has played in seven games with three starts, and has completed 60 percent of his passes (63-of-105) for 650 yards with no touchdowns to one interception. He has also fumbled five times, losing four of them.
The Texans currently have no other quarterbacks on their active roster or their practice squad. The Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson reported the team will sign fifth-year quarterback Matt McGloin, who played for O'Brien at Penn State, to be their backup.