Updated: The savior is sidelined: Wade Phillips taking a medical leave ofabsence from 10-3 Texans
Update: After practice, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that he is having a kidney procedure on Thursday with his doctors telling him that he should be back in time to coach the regular season finale against the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 1 and throughout the playoffs. Phillips didn't get into details on the ailment, but said it's not cancerous or life threatening.
"I feel good. I don’t have any physical problems right now, so if I get this done, this procedure that I’m doing, then I’ll be fine," he said. "I’ll be out maybe a week, maybe a little longer than that, so it’s the Next Man Up. That’s what we’ve done all year.
"The team, it’s ‘we,’ it’s not me. I’ve been getting too much credit, but it’s the football team, and they’re going to play."
Wade Phillips — the defensive coordinator who has changed everything for the Houston Texans — is taking a medical leave of absence from the team as it gears up for the playoffs.
Phillips is having surgery for an undisclosed condition later this week and linebackers coach Reggie Herring will call the defense in Phillips' absence. Phillips is expected to miss at least two games.
For a Texans' team that has overcome the loss of so many key players to injury (starting quarterback Matt Schaub, backup quarterback Matt Leinart, wide receiver Andre Johnson and outside linebacker Mario Williams to name just a few), this might be the most shocking blow yet.
For a Texans' team that has overcome the loss of so many key players to injury, this might be the most shocking blow yet.
Phillips has the Texans ranked No. 1 in the NFL in defense, an historic turnaround for a team that could not stop anyone during a 6-10 2010 season. The Texans D is limiting opponents to 274.9 yards per game this season (compared to 376.9 yards per game last season without Phillips). That 102 yard-per-game improvement would be the best since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger if it holds up through the last three games of the regular season.
But now, the architect of it all — the 64-year-old man that the defensive players routinely credit — is out. Fox 26's Mark Berman is reporting that Phillips is only expected to be out a couple of weeks, which would put him back in time for the playoffs, but that hasn't been confirmed by the organization yet. The Texans themselves first released the news of Phillips' leave, saying that he is expected to return this season but not putting a definite timetable on it.
It is unclear whether Phillips just found out that he needed surgery or if he knew earlier and put it off until the Texans clinched a playoff spot (which they did on Sunday). Phillips plans to talk to reporters after practice today.
For much more as this story develops, come back to CultureMap.