Losing a star like J.J. Watt to a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg is a huge blow for the Houston Texans, but he's not the only key defender who got hurt last Sunday.
Whitney Mercilus suffered a chest injury while he was trying to tackle wide receiver Albert Wilson in the first quarter of the matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it didn't look good at all. The 2016 second-team All-Pro outside linebacker was diagnosed with a torn pectoral muscle and surgery was necessary, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has also confirmed that Mercilus has been ruled out of the remainder of the season due to the injury, and he also noted that they will feel the absence of Watt and Mercilus in the coming weeks.
"A lot of our game plan is around them. There's a lot of season left. We still got some playmakers out there," O'Brien said, via the Texans' official website.
With Watt and Mercilus sidelined for the rest of the year, the Texans will have to rely on Jadeveon Clowney and Bernardrick McKinney. Christian Covington, Brennan Scarlett and Brandon Dunn should see an increase in playing time as well.
"These guys that are there, they're going to have to step in and like I said, it's going to be multiple guys. You don't replace J.J. Watt or Whitney Mercilus with one guy. That's just ridiculous. It's going to be a lot of different guys that are going to chip in to help and I think the coaching staff needs to do a great job, too," O'Brien said, according to Scout.com.
Meanwhile, NFL Network has reported that the Texans have signed former Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lamarr Houston and former Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kendall Langford to add more depth to their defense.