The Houston Texans placed running back Arian Foster on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon, officially ending his season. Foster was told by several back specialists that he needs season-ending surgery to repair damage in the area. He sought multiple opinions in an effort to avoid surgery, but no one would clear him to play.
Foster will still likely be a big part of the Texans moving forward. When healthy he’s one of the NFL’s best and most versatile running backs, and he will cost a reasonable $5.75 million in 2014. He’s only 27 years old and is just a year removed from rushing for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 40 passes for 217 yards and two scores last season.
Clearly the Tennessee product is the kind of guy you can build a team around, which is good because the Texans are likely going to need pieces to build with after this season. Houston’s current roster has turned in an atrocious 2-7 start to the season and much of it could be sent packing this offseason. Foster will almost surely not be a part of that exodus.
The three-time All-Pro will likely need much of the offseason to recover from surgery, but he should be ready for training camp. The fact that he has held up this long is pretty amazing, considering that he has totaled 1,191 touches since the beginning of the 2010 season. Eventually, he was going to break down at that rate.
Foster has dealt with minor lower-body injuries over the years but his back issues could be the most serious problem he has faced. The injury is especially troubling given the number of hits he takes as a between-the-tackles running back.
In eight games this season, Foster carried the ball 121 times for 542 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and one touchdown. He also caught 22 passes for 183 yards and another score.
With Foster on the shelf, the Texans will rely on Ben Tate and Dennis Johnson to pick up the slack.