The Other Foot Drops
Disaster Monday: Texans quarterback Matt Schaub out with season-threatening footinjury; Matt Leinart now the starter
All those great feelings around the Houston Texans just got sucked out of the air with a revelation that could cripple this season of Super promise.
Quarterback Matt Schaub is out with what Texans head coach Gary Kubiak describes as a "significant foot injury." Backup Matt Leinart is expected to start Houston's next game against Jacksonville on Nov. 27 and the fate of the 7-3 Texans figures to be in his hands for a long time to come.
ESPN NFL information guru Adam Schefter has already said he's heard that Schaub is out for the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury (a fracture in the middle of the foot where bones are displaced). Lisfranc injuries often happen to horse riders or windsurfers who get their feet trapped in stirrups or foot straps. It's not uncommon in football either — and it usually ends seasons.
Kubiak says it's too early to say that Schaub is definitely out for the entire season though and that the foot is still "being evaluated." But everyone knows which way things are trending.
Schaub hurt his foot on a quarterback sneak early in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay but stayed in the game until he finally complained that the pain was too much with the outcome long since secured. Leinart ended up playing the last five minutes in a 37-9 Houston win.
"They taped it up at halftime and he played," Kubiak said Monday. "He was complaining about it in the fourth quarter and we took him out of the game. After the game, the doctors still felt like he was going to be fine, so this all took place here today.”
Like a giant other foot dropping on the Texans.
Kubiak made Schaub's status known at his weekly Monday press conference. The one player the Texans couldn't afford to lose is now in a walking boot, set to travel around the country and visit specialists, almost hoping against hope that one of them will tell him he can return before next season. Schaub will see foot doctors in Indianapolis and Charlotte.
Leniart — a marque college star at USC — has never experienced much success in the pros. The high first round pick was deemed a bust in Arizona and he landed in Houston hoping to resurrect his career. He didn't have much success in this year's preseason though. Leinart's career numbers — 14 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a 70.8 quarterback rating, all of that done in Arizona — don't exactly inspire confidence either.
Now, the Texans' season could very well rest on his arm.
"Matt (Leinart) doesn't have to go win a game, the team has to go win a game," Kubiak said.
Kubiak always has been one of Leinart's biggest believers, pushing for the Texans to resign him to a $5.5 million, two-year contract to be the backup this offseason. Kubiak believes it is too early to say just how long Schaub will be out, but for at least the near future, he's left with Leinart. Schaub's "significant" injury threatens to end his season just when the Texans established themselves as contenders for the AFC's No. 1 seed.
"Well that’s why he’s (Leinart) here," Kubiak said. "That’s why he came back."