Arian Foster Injury: Texans RB Must Play It Safe to Start the Season
Arian Foster (knee), Brooks Reed (hip) are active #Texans— Nick Scurfield (@NickScurfield) September 9, 2012
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The Texans are saying that Arian Foster is going to be a game-time decision for Sunday's season-opener against Miami.
Foster is apparently insisting that he'll play on Sunday, no matter what.
His enthusiasm is doubtlessly appreciated, but in this case, he needs to defer to his coaching staff. The Texans can afford to be without him for the opening game against the Dolphins, and they can afford to risk him aggravating the injury.
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the NFL's top-rated running back sustained a "knee problem that popped up out of nowhere on Thursday during practice." The team is being tight-lipped about the nature of the injury, which a source tells Florio is "minor."
The Washington Post's Matt Brooks reports that an MRI on the knee came back clean and that Texans head coach Gary Kubiak boiled it all down to "a sore knee."
But no matter how minor this injury is, a knee injury is a knee injury, and forcing yourself to play on it could be the difference between missing the first game and missing the first half of the season. And for the Texans, missing Foster could be the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
Clearly, no matter how minor this injury really is, it's necessary to proceed with caution. The Texans cannot afford to be risky with the player on whom the season's success depends.
There would still be a need to proceed with caution even if the Texans were playing the Steelers or the Patriots in the first game of the season, but the fact of the matter is, they've been given a big gift: They are playing the Dolphins, who have gone 0-4 in the preseason and started off the 2011 season with seven consecutive losses, before finishing 6-10.
If Foster needs a little extra rest just to make sure he's 100-percent-ready for Week 2 against Jacksonville, so be it. Houston can afford it.
The Texans are playing at home against a defense that finished 15th in the league in 2011 and doesn't objectively appear to have improved substantially in the offseason. Moreover, the Dolphins offense has looked lackluster throughout the course of the preseason, putting up a total of 43 points in four games.
Even if Houston holds Foster out of the game on Sunday, it's still safe to say that it has a good chance of coming out with a win. And taking that chance is better than risking losing its most potent offensive weapon just because he couldn't bear to miss a game against the Dolphins.
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