The Houston Texans offense was dealt a brutal blow on Wednesday afternoon when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that starting wide receiver Will Fuller suffered a broken collarbone in practice.
Fuller, who’s entering his second NFL season, was an early breakout star for the Texans in his rookie year, tallying over 100 yards in each of his first two games. He slowed down after that, finishing the year with 47 receptions for 635 yards and two touchdowns.
Even still, Fuller was the clear-cut No. 2 wide receiver on the roster behind DeAndre Hopkins but will miss an extended amount of time due to the broken collarbone.
The former Notre Dame Fighting Irish receiver was the No. 21 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his final two seasons, while racking up a superb 29 touchdowns over that same stretch. His upside is going to be tough to replace for the Texans, who will be starting a young quarterback in either Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson in 2017.
As far as a potential timetable for Fuller’s return, that could be hard to gauge. As SportsMD.com pointed out, some type of discomfort to the collarbone can persist for up to three months, and it also points out that most physicians will recommend that an athlete wear a sling for 2 to 6 weeks, and it also states that unrestricted sport activities can typically be resumed 4 to 6 weeks after the complete healing. In total, most cases say it’s about three months before a player should return to action, but obviously, each injury is going to be different.
Time will tell, and there have certainly been plenty of instances in which players have returned sooner than this. For now, though, it’ll be about assessing the full injury to Fuller’s collarbone and setting up a timetable from there, which will be sure to give any updates on.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported that Fuller will undergo surgery and is expected to be out 2-3 months. He also pointed out that either Jaelen Strong or Braxton Miller are the favorites to step in and earn additional playing time.