PHOENIX — The Houston Texans woke up to a perfect day in the desert — and some crippling news.
Their all-everything running back Arian Foster is out for season due to a back injury. Foster — arguably the best back in football not named Adrian Peterson when healthy — will have back surgery later this week in Los Angeles. (Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported on Foster's season-ending surgery.)
It's a particularly frustrating injury for the 27-year-old Foster who worked out feverishly in the offseason and came into training camp seemingly poised to have his best season ever.
"This is the most focused I've seen (Arian) since he's been here," Texans left tackle Duane Brown told CultureMap then. "He's just going to work. He's going to have his best season ever."
Like most things with the 2013 Texans, that didn't exactly work out. Foster saved the Texans from a loss to the Titans — forcing overtime with a game-tying touchdown and all-guts two-point conversion — in Week Two, but his game-changing plays since were few and far between. He's been battling injuries since he showed up to the Texans offseason program in such great shape that even Texans general manager Rick Smith couldn't help but publicly pump up the possibilities.
Foster finishes his season with 542 rushing yards on 121 carries and 183 receiving yards on 22 catches. The touchdown machine who reached the end zone a whopping 47 times in a three-season stretch (2010 to 2012) never materialized this year. Of course, the fantasy football nerds who took Foster No. 1 in their drafts are outraged.
More importantly, the Texans are in even more trouble.
In a season that's seen linebacker Brian Cushing get his knee blown out (again) and head coach Gary Kubiak collapse at halftime with a mini stroke on Sunday Night Football, Houston is now relying on a backup running back in a contract year playing with broke ribs (Ben Tate).