Houston Texans Rookie Wide Receiver Tank Dell Out for the Season

Posted on: December 4, 2023, 09:11h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 02:54h.

On Sunday, the Houston Texans defeated the Denver Broncos, 22-17. But they lost rookie wide receiver Tank Dell to a season-ending injury during the matchup.

Tank Dell Texans injury
Training staff from the Houston Texans assist wide receiver Tank Dell onto the medical cart after he sustained a leg injury against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium. (Image: Getty)

Dell sustained a left leg injury as a blocker on a running play at the goal line in the first quarter. Running back Dameon Pierce scored a touchdown, but Dell got caught up in the dog pile at the goal line.

Man, it hurt bad,” said Texans veteran wide receiver Nico Collins. “You don’t ever want to see someone get hurt. You see the hard work Tank puts in every single day. Hate to see one of our brothers go down like that.”

X-rays revealed a fractured left fibula. Dell will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

Stellar Rookie Season for Dell

Dell, who is 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, is considered vastly undersized for a wide receiver. Dell was a star with the Houston Cougars, so the Texans’ scouts were familiar with the local legend.

The Texans took a flier on Dell with a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Dell made their scouts look like geniuses. Through his first ten games of the season, Dell caught 47 passes for 709 yards and seven touchdowns. He entered Sunday’s game with a four-game touchdown streak.

To lose Tank there with a leg injury, it hurts our team because of what he means to our team, not only on the field but off the field,” said Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans. “Tank always has a huge smile on his face, always full of energy, and it just really hurts losing Tank.”

Before his injury against the Broncos, Dell didn’t record a reception in the game. In Week 11, Dell had his best performance as a rookie, with eight receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in a victory against the Arizona Cardinals. In a narrow win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9, Dell caught six passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s cold, it’s not easy,” added Stroud. “I got to be there for him. I can try to be positive about it, but it’s tough. I’m hurt. I can’t sugarcoat it. I love my brother to death and I’m praying for him.”

With Dell down, veteran wide receiver Noah Brown is next on the depth chart. Brown returned to the lineup after missing a couple of games with a knee contusion. In six games this season, Brown caught 21 passes for 439 yards and two touchdowns.

Texans in the Playoff Hunt

The Texans improved to 7-5 after holding off the Broncos in Week 13. They currently occupy third place in the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) hold down first place, with a game pending against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.

If the season ended today, the Texans would bubble the postseason as the eighth-ranked team. The three teams who occupy the AFC wild card, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts, are also 7-5.

The Colts are in second place in the AFC South and hold a playoff tiebreaker over the Texans, based on head-to-head winning percentage.

The Texans defeated the Colts in Week 2, and the two will meet again in the season’s final game in Week 18. The Colts also began the season with a rookie quarterback as the starter. But Anthony Richardson sustained a season-ending shoulder injury, putting backup Gardner Minshew under center.

Based on a playoff prediction by Upshot, the Texans have a 78% chance to make the playoffs and the Colts have a 67% chance. The Texans are -400 odds to make the playoffs, and +300 odds to miss the postseason, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. The Colts are -205 odds to make the playoffs, and +165 odds to miss it.

The Jaguars are the consensus favorite to win the AFC South at -1000 odds. The Texans are +750 odds to win the division, and they’re ahead of the Colts (+2000) and last-place Tennessee Titans (+50000).

The Texans have a +4000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII. They’re +1800 odds to win the ACF Championship as the fifth-highest team on the board.