No one ever doubted Case Keenum's toughness at the University of Houston — not after he came back from a severe knee injury to have a senior season for the ages. Now, Keenum is setting out to make his Houston Texans' teammates believers.
A torn ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand does not look like it will keep Keenum from starting the Texans' season finale.
The first-year starter went through a full practice on Thursday, throwing his normal amount and interim head coach Wade Phillips says Keenum will get his ninth start of the season if he can throw effectively Friday. That would mercifully end Matt Schaub's return as the starter at one game and give the Sunday game at Tennessee at least a little extra meaning.
Keenum knows he's walking into a tough situation — and playing hurt. But he needs to grab every chance he can get.
Every game the 25-year-old Keenum plays gives the former NCAA record-breaking quarterback invaluable NFL experience. Experience that could be a big boost for the Texans' next season depending on how the team's quarterback situation develops through the NFL Draft and training camp.
With the Texans otherwise crippled on offense — the team will be starting its fifth running back of the season and third-string tight end against the Titans — it's not about Keenum getting his first win as a pro as much as it is about the game reps. Of course, some points on the scoreboard would be huge.
Houston's averaged 8.0 points per game in its last two losses.
Keenum knows he's walking into a tough situation — and playing hurt. But he needs to grab every chance he can get. No matter how much the deck seems to be stacked against him and this 2-13 team. He's pushing to get back for what most NFL fans see as a meaningless game.
Even if he took an absolute physical beating in his last start — that 25-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 15 that left him with the torn thumb, an ugly red welt across his forehead and plenty of aches.