The injury bug jumped up once again and bit the Houston Texans with safety Danieal Manning leaving Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams midway through the third quarter. Coach Gary Kubiak acknowledged that Manning suffered a “significant knee injury” and that more information will be available later in the week.
It was first reported by the Houston Chronicle that Manning had fractured his fibula and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Shiloh Keo is likely to start in Manning’s place, a substantial downgrade from an all-pro player to one who has spent the majority of snaps with the special teams unit.
Manning’s absence was felt immediately in Sunday’s game. Keo entered the game in relief and was shortly beaten for a long gain by St. Louis TE Jared Cook. He has also proven to be Houston’s best option in the kick-return game, and was replaced by Keshawn Martin when he left Sunday’s game injured. Martin coughed up the ensuing kickoff and the fumble was returned for a touchdown by the Rams.
This is the second catastrophic injury the Texans have suffered in as many weeks, with TE Owen Daniels fracturing his fibula during last Sunday’s matchup with the San Francisco 49’ers.
The Texans certainly didn’t have any depth to lose in the secondary, and Manning’s absence is sure to be felt. Recently acquired safety Ed Reed has yet to look like his old self, coming off an offseason hip surgery. CB Jonathan Joseph has struggled early on and the secondary will be forced to make adjustments to get Keo acclimated to a full time workload.
The Texans, who are off to a 2-4 start, are having a complete letdown of a season and many may write this injury off as “meaningless” given the current outlook of the team as a whole. One thing is for sure, the Texans are certainly much worse off without the veteran safety.